Knowing how to choose an accountant is essential as whoever you choose is going to be a hugely important part of your business. Look at them as your business partner as this is the person who will be looking after your finances. Choosing the right accountant can save you time and money and help your business to grow. Choosing the wrong accountant can cost you dearly and may be the downfall of your business.
Many people choose an accountant based on price and how cheap they are, but this can be a very expensive mistake. As the adage goes, you get what you pay for, and this can be true when choosing an accountant.
The worrying fact is that accountants do not have to be qualified – yes really! When you choose a low-cost accountant, you could be leaving yourself wide open for trouble in the future if they make a mistake.
To protect yourself and your business, here are our top tips on how to choose an accountant.
Top tips how to choose an accountant.
To choose the right accountant for your business ask the following questions:
Are they a chartered accountant
Chartered accountants are regulated and qualified professionals. Look for an accountant who is a member of ICAEW such as Maynard Johns. This will ensure you are using an accountant who is bound by a code of ethics and regularly monitored.
By choosing a chartered accountant you can be assured of a standard of:
- Professional Competence and Due Care
- Professional Behaviour
Are they insured?
Chartered accountants are insured as standard. However, an unqualified or unregulated accountant may have skipped getting adequate insurance which could prove to be a fatal issue should something go wrong and cause you to fall foul of HMRC.
Do they have experience in your business industry?
Different business industries have varying rules and requirements. Having an accountant who is experienced and knowledgeable in your chosen industry can be a huge bonus. They will already know the quirks and potential pitfalls and be able to advise you accordingly.
Is their knowledge up to date?
Again, Chartered Accountants have a requirement and responsibility to keep up to date with relevant knowledge. An unqualified accountant may be unqualified for a reason and they may not possess the necessary knowledge to give the best advice for your business.
Is their pricing policy clear?
You may decide to go with a cheaper accountant but then discover a whole host of hidden extra charges you weren’t aware of in the beginning. You may receive an extra bill every time you find the need to ask a question which can soon add up over the year.
Choose an accountant who will explain their pricing structure clearly and concisely up front. And if you want to be extra sure of no additional charges, look for an accountant such as Maynard Johns who offers a fixed fee accountancy package.
Do they offer additional support services?
Whilst not essential, accountants who offer additional support services can become a valued support to your business. Look for an accountant who can provide training in cloud accountancy software showing you time-saving shortcuts.
Would you like an accountant who offers business advice and planning to support your growth plans? Or how about an accountant that offers a full payroll service?
Additional services can be of huge value to a business so check out what your accountant offers. Visit our Business Services section to see a full list of additional services from Maynard Johns.
Are they accessible?
With video conferencing and telephone, you don’t need to choose an accountant in your home town. However, you do need to know when they are available to speak to when you need them. No, they can’t be sat waiting for your call whenever you feel like it but do they have an easy booking system to schedule a call such as Maynard Johns online diary?
Do they take an active role in helping you build your business?
Check if your accountant offers advice and support to help you grow your business. Do they have the capability to support you from the startup phase as a sole trader to moving you through to becoming established and employing staff? Do they have the industry knowledge to help you give your business the edge you need?
What do their current clients say about them?
Go check out reviews from current clients and see what they have to say. Reviews can usually be found on Google or social media channels the accountancy practice has.
Are they a good fit?
Everything may sound good on paper but how do you know if they are a good fit for you and your business? It’s important you feel comfortable with your chosen accountant and not be afraid of asking questions. Choose an accountant who allows you to speak to them or meet with them before signing up with them. At Maynard Johns Chartered Accountants we offer a free introductory session to all new clients. Get in touch if you would like to book yours now.
How to change accountants
If you already have an accountant but find yourself wanting to change, read our article on How to change accountants which explains the process and how easy it can be to switch.