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    How to Choose an Accountant
    for a Small Business

    Offshore Corporate Service Provider
    EST. 1996

25February

How to Choose an Accountant for your Small Business?

Setting up a small business, while eventually rewarding, can be difficult sometimes. In every aspect of running your business, it is hard to be great, which is why having a proper support system is a key component of your overall success. 

You should not understate the importance of a good accountant, regardless of the field in which your small business falls. One of the most significant choices a small business can make is finding the right accountant. 

A good experienced small business accountant can help you in saving your time and helps to grow your company by handling your finances, whereas a poor one can cost you the money you need. 

But it can be a difficult decision to make, with thousands of accountants available to choose from. The decision to hire a small business accountant is something that you must not take lightly, considering the value of getting a professional accountant as part of your team. 

Here are some basic factors that will help you to select the right accountant for your small business:

Know your requirements

Before you select an accountant, you first need to understand the type of work or duties that you want the accounting professional to handle for your business. 

A non-certified accountant or bookkeeper may be employed if you need monthly financial statements and bookkeeping assignments. But you need a professional accountant to get tax planning guidance; tax returns compiled or audited financial statements.

Look for an accountant with appropriate experience

Hiring an accountant with relevant business, tax and accounting expertise will prove to be a great advantage as an accountant will advise you on ongoing business matters. 

For a small business owner looking to develop and prosper, selecting a skilled accountant with a clear financial history and experience will be an ideal choice in most cases.

For an accountant, it is not a legal requirement to have any qualification, yet you should confirm that your accountant is qualified by one of the recognised UK bodies such as, ICAEW, ICAS, CIMA, or ACCA.

 
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Make use of social media

Nowadays, most of the accountants in Central London are active on various social media platforms. You can search for small business accountants near me so that you get an idea regarding the availability of accountants at your location.

LinkedIn is one of the largest platforms used by working professionals, and you can use it to check for accountants who have been recommended by customers if you already have a profile there. 

In fact, for any working accountant or accounting firm, getting a profile on LinkedIn is very necessary. That is social evidence that they have an active business and are highly recommended by at least a few clients for their expertise.

You can use LinkedIn or other online networks to dig into the background of each applicant a little deeper and find out information like: 

  • Will they have a strong network of people who are professionals? 
  • Did they get any recommendations from their customers? 
  • What does their experience mean? 
  • What qualifications do they have? (i.e. a bookkeeper, chartered accountant, ora financial advisor)

Find out what accounting software they use

Accountants usually own their own preferred software for accounting. The odds are that they may have been in business for several years and may have become familiar with one specific software brand. 

This can lead to problems sometimes. If your business uses a specific form of software, there can be problems with sharing data. Although data can be exported and imported in an acceptable format, it can be time-consuming and possibly lead to errors.

So, look for an accountant who uses the same software you do or maybe someone who's able or willing to do that.

Always do background checks

Before you hire an accountant, it's important to speak to some of the clients of your potential accountant. To support you with this, you can use professional services, but if the accountant is genuine, they will also be able to give a selection of reference contacts to you.

This will help validate some of the details that you have been given by the accountant. It will also encourage you to learn first-hand about the relationship between the accountant and his other customers.

Be Selective

Just like everything else in life, do not accept the first offer you get automatically. Until you decide, interview several applicants. You need to select an accountant who is appropriate for your small business. 

If you have recruited an accountant who doesn't feel like he or she is on your side, move on. Although you can experience any short-term frustration while doing this, you will get your company's long-term benefits. 

To make the right business decisions, you need up-to-date financial details. This begins with professional accounting services.

Reporting frequency

You must understand how frequently you receive financial statements from your accountant. Frequent contact between you and your accountant is important, particularly when you are growing your business or enterprise. 

You want to use your accountant as a business consultant, not just to get help during the tax season. So, set standards in advance for the frequency of reporting and interaction, and choose an accountant who matches your requirements.

Compare and negotiate fees

Most accountants charge a monthly fee that includes their tax completion fee, while others charge bookkeeping services on an annual basis and business and personal taxes separately. 

Before making any decision about which vendor to use, you want to know how they bill. 

For its services, not every accountant or accounting firm charges the same fee. It varies in terms of how many services are offered and the expertise of the person delivering the services.

For bookkeeping services, some accountants in the UK charge a flat fee or an annual fee for a particular set of services, such as taxes. You may be able to negotiate the way you pay, based on your cash flow. Until making the final decision, ensure that you evaluate the budget.

Takeaway

In the UK, an accountant plays a very crucial role in handling the finances of a small business. You need an individual who is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and ready to be there for you.

Accountants cannot only perform the accounting duties but also provide practical business guidance in the planning and development of your business. If you choose the small business accountant based on the above-mentioned factors, you can reduce the chances of making the wrong choice for your business.

 

Written by: 123Financials an accounting firm based out of London

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