Five Top Tips on what to look for as a small business when choosing an accountant

As a small business owner choosing the right accountant is one of the most important decisions you can make, and what works for one business may not be appropriate for another.

This quick guide is designed to provide you with some of the most critical points to consider.

Research and make your choice early

Ideally you should take the time to choose your accountant before you start your business as they will be able to advise you on forming the company, setting a financial plan, tax considerations and registering with the relevant tax authorities.

Can you work with them?

As an accountant is a critical part of your extended advisory team it’s critical that the chemistry is right. You will need to talk to them about critical  issues relating to your personal and business finances so need to be able to trust them implicitly.

  • Are they approachable?
  • Do you feel you could rely on them?
  • Do they have a good general appreciation and understanding of how businesses work?
  • Are they knowledgeable and up to date?
  • Are they readily available and accessible to you?
  • Are the qualified?

It may sound obvious, but make sure they’re appropriately qualified. Look for mebershio of an appropriate body such as ICAEW, or ACCA.

  • What do they cost?

What are the costs and what’s the charging structure? Do they charge a flat annual fee or is the option to pay monthly? What services are included in the base fees and what work is classified as ‘extra’? Bear in mind there are a range of things you may or may not require, including:

  • Setting up and running payroll
  • Preparation of annual accounts
  • Dealing with HMRC and VAT.
  • General book-keeping.
  • Self-assessment tax returns.
  • IFA services.
  • Do they offer specialist services?

You may have particular needs for specialist advice on matters such as tax, mergers and acquisitions or investment advice. If you feel you may need any of these services make sure you choose an accountant that can offer them.

Choosing the right accountant can make a fundamental difference to the success of your business so you shouldn’t stint on finding the right one for you. Don’t accept the first one you talk to. Speak to a range, reference them and if you can get personal recommendations all the better.Get this decision right form outset and it will save you lots of heartache and hard costs further down the line as you grow.