Having an Accountant is very important for small businesses especially if they are new and/or growing. They can help with many special functions that entrepreneurs and business owners shy away from but are critical to the business.
These can include the following - preparing budgets and management accounts, offering financial advice, and with the new law introducing VAT in 2018, valuable tax advice too. You can also use them to outsource key functions such as bookkeeping, management accounts, and payroll.
Fees are also very important when choosing an Accountant, some accounts charge a flat fee and others can bill by the minute for each call and meeting you make with them. The most important factor to consider is their competence; their skill set and if they understand your business needs.
The ultimate role of an Accounting firm is not just to prepare reports and make tax filings but also to think outside the box to provide value-adding advice on how to find efficiencies in the business and to help the business grow based on the financial information they have received.
Service levels are very important for small businesses, as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. If you choose a low-cost accountant, the level of service will be minimal with no understanding of how your business works. It’s always better to pay more for an accountant who understands your business and your needs by being proactive than an accountant who informs you of problems and issues when it is too late!
As with service, availability is important also, if you need to see your accountant urgently or have questions, how quickly can they respond to you with the relevant advice you require? Make sure that your accountant is available at least within 48 hours.
Once you have decided on the accounting firm you wish to engage with, ask them for references. This can be done by asking to speak to previous clients of theirs and/or asking friends and family. Always check the qualification of the accountant to ensure they are accredited with an Accounting body that ultimately regulates them. This may be ACCA, CIMA, or ACA.