Guide to Choosing an Accountant

After opening shop, a business owner soon learns that they must rely on many different resources to take their company to the level of success they are hoping to. One of the many experts needed is a good quality accountant. There are steps that should be taken when hiring this type of professional.

When to Hire the Accountant

Ideally, the best time to hire an accountant is as soon as the business is operational. Many leave hiring this professional until their year-end, and they have to do their taxes. What they don’t realize is that these experts can help with different segments of the business, such as:

  • Offering advice as pertains to the stability and growth of the business
  • Advice on the best tax measures to be implemented
  • Setting up the proper accounting records right from the beginning
  • Tracking the cash flow of the business.

Hiring the Accountant

There are a series of steps that need to be taken to find the right accountant for the business.

  • Step One: Identify the business’ accounting needs. Does the company also need bookkeeping services and if so, does the accountant provide these services? It may be that bookkeeping services are not needed as the company may be using software for this. At the same time, it is important to know if the accountant is familiar with this software. Some companies operate with cash transactions only. In this case, finding an accountant who has experience in dealing with cash businesses is a bonus as they are already familiar with this and do not need to bring themselves up to speed.
  • Step Two: Sourcing out the available accountants. There are many different resources available for sourcing out accountants. Some of these include asking business associates or even searching the internet for accountants in the area. Many accountants will also work remotely. So this means a business is not restricted to using accountants just in their area. How Often will the Accountant be needed? It also has to be decided whether the company wants the accountant to work on site, on a full or part-time basis.
  • Step Three: Interviewing the accounting prospects: There are a lot of questions that need to be asked of the accountant being considered for the job, which includes:

1. How does the accountant want to work with you? Are they prepared to come to your office and if so, how often?

2. Does the accountant use additional staff to assist them?

3. Is the accountant part of a firm or an independent?

4. What are the accountant’s rates?

5. What credentials does the accountant have?

6. What size of businesses is the accountant most familiar with?

7. Is this professional willing to give you the names of clients they have worked for so you can check out their performance?

8. Is this accountant familiar with your particular business?

9. Is the accountant prepared to do the business tax returns and deal with the tax department regarding any queries and concerns?

These questions are starter questions and many of the answers will provide the foundation for asking more detailed questions.

Once the questioning is completed, then you, as the person hiring them should have a good idea as to how compatible you are going to be with them. This is important because as the business owner, you must be able to converse regularly with this professional.