Choosing an accountant can feel overwhelming. The world of accountancy has changed dramatically with the advancement of technology in recent years, meaning you might find the right fit for you far beyond your local area.
While an abundance of options is great, it can also make it harder to choose. How do you know what to look for? What should you expect an accountant to do? How does it all work?
It might be that you’ve already chosen an accountant and you feel like you could be getting a better service. You might not know what better looks like, but you have a feeling in your gut that something isn’t right. Don’t worry – this happens – and we’re here to help. This blog post will help you figure out the kind of support you should and could be getting, so you can take the first steps to changing your situation.
Define a ‘good’ accountant?
‘Good’ might feel like a subjective word. ‘Good’ is based on your unique feelings and opinions and tastes, right? Yes – to an extent that’s true. A good accountant for you might be someone who has a passion for the things you love. They might be the kind of person you can go for a Sunday bike ride with. And, at the same time, there are qualities that make a good accountant regardless of their personality. These are the qualities you want to look out for.
The 10 things you should expect:
- They figure out what makes you tick – As an accountant, the most important thing we can do is learn about our clients. Uncover what it is our clients want. Understanding how you got to where you are today, what your hopes and dreams are and what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning is key to providing you with advice specifically for you.
- A relationship, not a transaction. Getting the best from your accountant involves having a good working relationship where you feel you connect with them. This can take time to build up. It doesn’t mean they have to have the same personality as you or even be someone you want to go out for a drink with, but your accountant should “get you” and your business.
- Responsiveness – Your accountant should get back to you within a reasonable period of time, whether it’s by phone, email or face to face.
- Regular communication – Communication is a two-way street. As well as being able to contact your accountant, you should also hear from them when there are important developments and updates to share. You should expect them to communicate these things to you in a timely manner, without you having to ask them.
- They care about your future – Rather than only looking at the past, your accountant should regularly review your future plans and help you work out how you can get there. This is what it means to help you grow your business.
- Insight – Your accountant should be able to interpret your accounts for you, providing insights into your figures and how you can improve these figures going forward.
- A sounding board – It’s a lonely job at the top! It can be lonely running a business, especially if you are the sole owner / director. Your accountant should be your “go to” sounding board for ideas and challenges. Your accountant should have a good grip of the finances and will not have the same emotional attachment to the business, which may help you make better decisions.
- A tax lookout – Your accountant should always be looking at how they can minimise your tax liabilities.
- Help to plan your tax liabilities. Further to point 8, your accountant should help you plan to minimise your tax liabilities throughout the year, so you’re proactive rather than reactive.
- They reduce your workload. Your time is valuable! You don’t want to have the hassle of doing the accountancy work for your business in addition to “your day job”. Your accountant should save you time by doing tasks such as payroll / management accounts / bookkeeping, so you have more time to spend on the things you enjoy in your business and the things that make you money!
Don’t forget the basics
Hopefully you have a good idea of what accounting support can be. It’s easy to assume your accountant knows what they’re doing – but sometimes the basics are missed. We’ve seen it before when new clients have come to us in a mess – so it’s an important reminder! Your accountant should, at a bare minimum:
- Be able to do their job. Your accountant should be able to provide the best technical / accountancy advice for your circumstances. If you don’t feel confident your accountant knows what they are talking about, it might be time to change.
- Meet deadlines. Your accountant should ensure all filing deadlines are met without documents being filed late and you incurring a fine.
Are we a fit?
We’ve built strong, long-lasting relationships with our clients and believe it takes a partnership to work together. We know that strong, long-lasting relationships aren’t built in a day, which is why we share lots of information to help you discover if we’re the right accountants for you.
Visit our about us page to learn about our team’s shared values and promises. You can also wander around our blog to get as much free advice as you need and get a glimpse of what it’s like to have us as your sounding board.
If you know you’re ready for our kind of support, go ahead and fill out our questionnaire. We’d love to see how we can help you.