As a small business owner, it can be easy to overlook the importance of a good accountant and try to look after the business’s books by yourself. However, unless you have specific accounting training, this is a grave mistake. Therefore, it makes sense that great care should be taken when choosing an accountant for your small business or indeed changing accountant. Consider the following points to ensure that you choose an accountant wisely.
First and foremost, you must ensure that the accountant is properly qualified. There are several different accountant certifications that an accountant may hold. In order to be accredited with these certifications, they must have completed and passed the relevant exams and gained the necessary industry experience. An accountant that has had experience working with small businesses would be a huge advantage when hiring as he/she will have an understanding of the dynamics and unique accounting needs of a small business.
When you are looking to hire an accountant for your small business, referrals and personal recommendations can be very useful. Speak to friends, family and other small business owners and enquire as to who looks after their accounts, asking them why they use their particular accountant. You could also do some online research by looking for members of certain accounting associations or by searching on professional networks such as LinkedIn.
The accountant’s fee is another important factor when choosing the right accountant for your small business. Some accountants may charge an hourly rate while others may charge a fixed fee. You need to determine the level of work that you will expect your accountant to look after and then you should decide which fee structure will suit your business better. As a small business owner, you can reduce your accountancy fees by doing some of the more simple and mundane bookkeeping tasks yourself.
It is important that you actually get along with your accountant. You will place a large amount of trust in this person as they will be looking after the financial interests of your business and you will be making decisions for your business based on their advice. As a small business owner, you will be working closely with your accountant and so you should make sure that you are comfortable enough to be completely honest and open with them about your business.
For a small business, your accountant should have a proactive approach when looking after your business accounts. Rather than just appearing at year-end, your accountant should be willing to work with you throughout the year ensuring that your business is running efficiently and in the most cost-effective way possible.
A good accountant is worth his weight in gold and in most cases, is one of the most important advisors a small business can have. Following these tips will help you to choose the right accountant for your small business. Choose wisely and you will help your business to grow and to save money in the short and long term, which is something that all small businesses aspire to do.
David Dunne is an online marketing consultant and blogger working on behalf of Aardvark Accountancy Services in Dublin, Ireland.