Choosing an accountant is not easy. Different accountants can help your business in different ways so before you start talking to any prospective accountants, it’s important to spend time determining what your needs are. Do you, for example, need an accountant to simply produce your annual accounts and help you with your tax returns? Do you need regular advisory meetings to help improve your business’s financial performance and profitability? Once you have answers to these questions, you can arrange meetings and find out if they are the right choice for you.
Here are the most important questions to add to your check-list when hiring an accountant:
1. Do you have knowledge and experience in my particular industry?
If an accountant specialises in your industry, it means that he/she can provide added value in terms of advice and best practice experience.
2. Which accounting body are you registered with and what is your membership number?
It’s essential that the accountant you choose has a professional qualification and is a member of a recognised body of professional accountants.
3. Why should I hire you as my accountant?
Expect a valid reason which highlights their experience and knowledge. If they are unable to provide one, perhaps you should not hire them.
4. What systems and processes are in place to keep my financial data secure?
Your accountant will have access to your financial records and banking information so it’s important to know exactly what measures are in place to keep your information secure.
5. How would you handle a tax investigation?
Listen to the answers and decide if that’s how you would like your affairs to be handled.
6. What exact services do you provide for the price quoted?
It’s important to establish what’s included in the price and what services are charged as ‘extra’.
7. Will my account be handled by a single person?
It’s always better if your account is handled by one person. Take time to know the team and the person who will be working with you.
8. What do you need from me to do your job?
Depending on your financial details, history and long-term goals, your accountant will need access to your business’s vital financial data.
9. How do you communicate with your clients?
Will there be face to face meetings or will everything be handled via emails and phone calls?
10. How can you, as my accountant, help me achieve my goals?
In this question, expect to hear about their understanding of the industry and their experience with managing your accounting and tax matters.
These questions are only a starting point. Once you start talking to the prospective accountants and evaluate their skills, experience and strengths, you will probably think of several other questions. If you need help driving your business forward, come and have a chat with us. We’ll be happy to answer all these questions and any concerns you may have.