It’s common to hear that choosing an accountant is similar to selecting a new business partner, and that’s because there will be a degree of trust and reliance you will depend on. Especially in the case of small businesses, making the right decision could mean the difference between you closing your doors or building your business. A good accountant can and will save you both money and time, but with thousands to choose from, it can be a daunting decision to make.
There are many excellent services available, and one such example is Xero accountants in Brighton. Their services allow clients to run their businesses as normal, then sending statements or invoices and seamlessly keeping their financial health in check.
Of course, there are multiple aspects which make this company a leader in the market, and today we will look at some of the top things you should know before making your decision:
Does location matter?
Once upon a time having an accountant nearby was an essential part of the service. Nonetheless, nowadays companies are collaborating online using innovative cloud-based technology which makes it easier for both parties. In other words, location isn’t a top priority anymore, unless you deem it absolutely necessary. Cloud accounting allows both you and your accountant to view data in real-time and even at the same times, regardless of where you currently are.
It’s essential to remember that the one-size-fits-all rule doesn’t always apply in the real world, despite it being a liberal approach. When it comes to your finances and the competitive market we are dealing with as part of our day-to-day lives, the decision of where to find an accountant will come down to your business needs. For example, some entrepreneurs are happy to attend video calls or conferences, to have discussions over the phone or via email, especially if they are prone to travelling or rarely finding spare time. In other words, if you don’t want to make compromises because of location, and you don’t have to!
You may find it easier to communicate face-to-face, finding someone who deeply understands the specifics of your industry or business and is able to attend business meetings alongside you. If this sounds similar to what you’re expecting, don’t settle for less, and pick an accountant who works nearby or is willing to travel for when you need them.
Choose a certified or chartered accountant
You will find that in nearly every country, accountants are regulated by professional bodies that hand out accounting qualifications –ensuring that the highest professional standards are maintained across the border. It will depend on the country in which you reside, but as a general rule of thumb, professional accountants may be called Certified Public Accountants or Chartered Accountants. The latter are renowned as highly qualified professionals who have completed a degree-level study in addition to work experience or competence and evaluation programmes.
The experts do come with a premium, but they can significantly add value to your business from the get-go. Mainly if you are looking to expand your company, it’s essential to have these financial Mavericks close to you from the beginning. Alternatively, you can use accountants who aren’t certified, registered, or chartered, but it will all depend on your business goals. Of course, more straightforward tasks such as tax preparation, financial management, or bookkeeping might not require a qualification or certification, but once your company gets bigger and better, the situation might change.
Choose an accountant with relevant expertise
Although it’s the feature of a good person to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to financial documents and tax returns, it’s best to play it safe. This means that it’s smart to choose an accountant who has experience in working with a company of similar size and revenue to yours. For example, if you are used to cloud-based software services, then pick someone with relevant cloud computing experience.
A former background of working with similar companies or in a related sector will also help, as you will know that they are in a position to understand the unique goals and needs of your organisation. If their CV shows that they used to work for larger and more prominent companies, then that’s a bonus –they will be able to handle the evolving needs of your business.
Who will I be dealing with?
Although you may think you will always interact with the person you hire, it’s not always the case. With larger firms, the person you had initially met with can pass you off to the office junior or anybody else in the firm.
As a first-time business owner, you may not be aware of this fact, and some companies will take advantage of this otherwise tiny detail.
Are we a good match?
Although this may seem like an insignificant detail, having an accountant who is loyal to your cause is indispensable. The right person will go beyond their initial prestige, being able to offer relevant advice and insight into a particular issue.
With studies showing that a staggering 59% of start-up entrepreneurs are running a business for the time in their lives, it’s important not to be naïve about your goals and needs. For example, you can ask the following questions:
What other companies in the sector have you worked with?
Do you have any relevant experience in this industry?
What are the difficulties you have encountered in that industry?
What services could you imagine providing over time?
These are just some of the questions you can address in order to test their breadth of expertise and ability to think of the evolving needs of your business.
Accountants offer different levels of engagement, and you will want to make sure that you establish who you will be in contact with and how often. Of course, less money will mean less being in touch, but that’s not always good when spotting issues or when handling inquiries. Make sure that you’re on the same page and that your goals align.