12th January 2021
Finding an accountant can be a daunting task. You know that you’ll have to speak to them frequently and therefore developing a good working relationship is essential. But how do you know they are the right fit for you? Well, we listed a few points that we think you should add to your checklist before committing.
1. First impressions
Call them. Yes, it might seem obvious, but nowadays you can sign up without actually talking to anyone.
Are they helpful, professional, friendly and approachable? Are they happy to answer all your questions or just want to get you signed up? Rushing you might be a sign that they are only after your money.
Also, it is vital that you understand what they are saying, as in they take the time to explain everything to you in plain English.
Did you know that anyone can start an accounting business with minimal training? There are a lot of cheap “accountants” out there, but be careful, your business is your responsibility, so if they make a mistake, it will be down to you to sort it.
Don’t be afraid to ask about their qualifications and do your own research, look them up with the professional body they are a member of.
If you choose an accountant qualified with for example the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), you’ll not only know that they know what they are doing but as members of a professional accounting body, they are regulated appropriately.
When you are doing your research, make sure that they can do what your business needs. There are a lot of specialist accountants out there, and as a contractor, you may not get the same level of advice from an accountant that is a specialist in farming or retail.
Make sure that they have experience in working with contractors and they are compliant, preferably accredited by an independent body like the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA). Accreditation with FCSA assures that you are dealing with a firm that is not only HMRC compliant but is also tested annually against the FCSA Codes of Compliance by independent assessors.
4. Level of work
Make sure that the accountant will take the weight off your shoulders. Operating a limited company comes with a fair bit of administrative responsibilities, so it’s essential that your chosen accountant takes care of these for you. See if they offer secretarial services and if they deal with HMRC on your behalf. They speak HMRC’s language, so let them handle those phone calls for you.
The majority of contractor accountants operate under a fixed-fee arrangement, so don’t forget to have a look at what services they offer as a part of their accounting package as some will have you pay for certain services separately.
5. It’s more than just numbers
The role of an accountant is much more than just crunching numbers; they are advisors that help you run a tax-efficient business. They should be proactive with their advice and approachable when you have a question.
Because one every business is different, so does the advice it requires and that’s why the relationship with your accountant is so important. It’s best that your accountant has an in-depth knowledge of your business. Unfortunately, with some of the larger accounting firms, this direct connection is lost, and clients get through to a “client representative” rather than their own accountant.
We think this is particularly important, which is why at MyAccountant we make sure that you get assigned your own qualified accountant you can contact directly.
We hope you find these tips useful for finding the ideal accountant for your business. For more helpful guides, tips, and articles visit the blog section of our website and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or over on Twitter.