What should I look for in an accountant?
Hiring an accountant is just as important as taking on a new member of staff, so you need to choose wisely. Remember, whoever you pick, you’re entrusting them with one of the most important facets of your business. Here are a few key things to consider when conducting your search:
• Check their credentials. For peace of mind, you should choose a chartered or certified accountant, one that’s regulated by a professional body, such as ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW or ICAS. An accountant with lesser qualifications may be fine for general bookkeeping duties (and will undoubtedly be cheaper), but when it comes to things like applying for a loan or seeking outside investment, it pays to have someone with the right credentials.
• Make sure they have the right experience. You want your new accountant to understand your business, your clients and your market sector. So before signing on the dotted line, ask yourself: “Do they have the relevant industry knowledge?” and, “Have they dealt with businesses like mine before?”. An accountant that’s unfamiliar with the ins and outs of your specific sector could end up costing you money down the line.
• Do your homework. Before making up your mind, dig a little deeper. Ask for testimonials, check out your prospective accountant’s website and social media presence, and speak to some of their existing clients. Any accountant worth their salt will be happy to provide you with referees, and any reluctance to do so should serve as a red flag.
Picking the wrong accountant can cost your company dearly, whether that’s falling foul of tax compliance or missing out on lucrative money-saving opportunities. At Wisteria, our team of experienced professionals can provide integrated accounting solutions to help your business thrive. We understand that each market sector is different, and we tailor our services to ensure your specific accounting needs are met.
How will an accountant add value to my business?
When most people think of accountants, they think of someone sitting in a back office, poring over your books and balancing your costs. In reality, a good accountant should be more like a business partner, liaising closely with you and your team to add value to your organisation and make your money work harder.
They should be helping you raise capital through grants, exploring share options, looking at crowdfunding opportunities or attracting angel investors. When you’re hiring your next accountant, never be afraid to ask: “What can you do for my business?” Here are a few other things to keep in mind when you’re making your decision.
• Is the price right? Professional accountancy services don’t come cheap, so before taking the plunge, you need to weigh up the cost of hiring an accountant against the money you’re likely to save. To make it worth your while, you need someone that’s proactive about saving you money, not simply a box ticker.
• Strike the right balance. When it comes to choosing an accountant, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Accountancy firms can vary in size from a sole trader working out of their home office to a big multinational. The key is to find the right fit for you. A lot will rest on the scope and scale of your own operation, but ideally, you want to strike a balance between size and service. You want a firm that’s big enough to provide a fully integrated, professional service, but not too big that you lose that personal touch.
• Trust your instincts. Choosing an accountant is an exhaustive process, and once you’ve gone through your checklist and done the necessary legwork, it’s time to trust your gut. Remember, you’re going to be working with your new accountant for the foreseeable future, so a good working relationship is essential. Make a shortlist and meet with two or three prospective firms. The one you feel most comfortable with is usually the best choice.
Speak to the experts
At Wisteria, we pride ourselves on our personal touch, working closely with our clients to understand your financial goals and objectives and develop tailored outcomes to help your business grow. Our expert accountants can offer help and advice from many topics from tax to auditing, so whether you’re a high-net-worth individual, small business or professional partnership, we’ve got you covered.
For more information on choosing your next accountant, or to learn more about what Wisteria can do for your business, get in touch and speak to one of our advisers.