5 Things to consider in finding the perfect accountant

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The accountant plays a vital role in the success of a business. The accounting industry has greatly evolved over the last few years. Due to continual development and technological advancements over the last few years, accountants are enabled to work more closely with their clients than ever. Modernised accounting software packages also enable the accountant to provide information more timeously with increased accuracy in a format tailored specifically for each company’s needs within each relevant business sector.

Increased #competition requires businesses to have more up-to-date financial information at hand in order to make decisions based on sound financial assessments. Your accountant plays an essential part in supporting your business to achieve its #goals. The following key considerations need to be taken into account in selecting an appropriate accountant for your business:

High competent levels with knowledge of laws, a level-headed business approach with a balanced pricing structure.

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1) Bookkeeper vs Strategist?

Your accountant needs to take the necessary steps to understand your business. Does your accountant provide support services and consult based on your current business activities and financial results?

Accounting firms need to ensure #compliance to accounting standards and relevant laws that are applicable to their engagement within your business. It is advisable to require your accountant to assist with additional financial #advisoryservices in various decision-making processes you might face. Examples of these services include corporate finance services, risk management, tax advisory and structuring of transactions.

2) Communication while working towards the same goals

The most successful businesses have an ongoing, well established, professional relationship with their accountant. As mentioned, an accountant plays a vital role in collaborating to your success.

Key factors to affirm:

  • Is the accountant approachable and accessible?
  • Will the accountant respond promptly to my questions?
  • What steps will the accountant take to understand my business and its processes?
  • How will the accountant align himself to my goals?
  • What face-to-face time does my accounting fees include and with who do I meet?
3) Reporting and feedback

What output can be delivered and in what timeframes? Due to the #automation of many accounting procedures, accountants can report quicker than ever before. This makes financial information more relevant and applicable as a more current analysis can be performed. The business owner can therefore act more swiftly and thereby establish a competitive edge amongst its competitors.

It is advisable that your accountant should provide monthly reporting with #analysis of the figures. By simply perform a bookkeeping function and submitting your VAT return, might not be sufficient to fulfil your business’ needs.

Certain accounting software packages such as Xero also enables business owners to have live up-to-the-minute access to financial information in the same platform your accountant has.

4) Knowledgeable of applicable laws

Non-compliance of relevant laws and regulations can have a massive impact on your reputation as a business. This is often accompanied by fines and penalties that can negatively affect your cashflow. It is important to do research on your accountant’s background, accreditation and professional accountancy body they belong to.

It is also sensible to ask relevant questions such as what your accountant’s experience entail, whether they worked with previous clients in the same industry and what specific knowledge they have in certain laws and regulations pertaining to your business.

5) Fees

Mostly left for a later part in discussions, this point most is often a deterring factor in choosing the right accountant. Accountants base their #fees on a professional service delivered and it can vary greatly depending on reputation of the accountant, as well as expertise and resources needed and applied to perform the work.

Before negotiation takes place, it is important to understand the exact need of your business. It is recommended that the structuring of fees should be flexible and be clear to both parties. It is beneficial for the business owner to have an overview of the yearly fee for all included services as well as ad-hoc procedures the accountant needs to perform. This assists greatly in the planning and setting up of your company’s yearly budget.

It is recommended that more than one quote is obtained before appointing an accountant as well as understanding the structure in determining the fees payable.

As a business owner, it is important to make fitting decisions in the #management of your business. One of these decisions is the selection and the appointment of an accounting officer. Your accountant should be involved and actively engaged in your activities and vice versa.

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