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How to choose an accountant

Thursday October 2014

As your business grows, you may find that you need to bring in some serious financial expertise. That means one thing: an accountant. But how should you go about picking one?

Your business relationship with your accountant is one of the closest you’ll make. This person will be responsible for making sure your business is viable and dealing with important issues like tax, so it isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.

Here are some ways to tell that the accountant you’ve selected is right for you:

They’re qualified – Not everyone you run across calling themselves an accountant will actually be qualified. Ensure that the person you choose is qualified and part of a relevant professional body like the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

They come highly recommended – Always check references and recommendations from a wide variety of sources. Someone may sound perfect on paper, but the way they interact with their clients is of paramount importance; you’re going to be relying on them, so ask around and see if they are trustworthy and professional. If someone you trust recommends an accountant you’ve never heard of, it never hurts to do a little research.

They’re familiar with your area and business sector – Be sure that your accountant has at least some experience of your business sector and some of the troubles you might come across in business. It might also help if they’re familiar with your local area – try local firms like Cowley Holmes for Bedford accounting services, for example. An accountant who knows the lay of the land can be a valuable asset to your growing business, and the more pitfalls they have seen the more they can help you avoid.

They can act as a mentor – You may think that an accountant is just someone good at doing quick arithmetic on a calculator, but that isn’t necessarily the case. A truly great accountant – and there are many out there – should be able to look at your books and tell a story with the numbers they see. You’ll know you’ve found the right fit for you when you find an accountant who can guide you and make helpful suggestions for the financial future of your business.

In some cases your business and personal finances will overlap, so always be sure that you choose someone you can trust. If you can find the right accountant for you it may be the start of a long and beneficial business relationship for both parties.

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