How to choose your accountant ?
Now that you know “why you should have an accountant”, let’s see how you can choose the right accountant for you.
Here are 4 elements that could influence your decision.
Would you prefer to have an accountant who is local and easy to meet? Based on the location, there are two different types of accountant: a local one and a national one. The local one is the accountant who is based in your city (Bristol) and who works with clients who are based in the local area. The national accounting firm is normally bigger and who serves a large client list from anywhere in the country. Both will do your books and take care of your accounting. However, with a local accountant, it will be easier to develop a close relationship and follow your growth. There is a better chance that the local accountant will know your business in detail, but also about you and the geographic area that you are trading in and he may be able to bring you new business.
2. Services offer
What are your looking for? Are you looking for an accountant who will do bookkeeping and year-end accounts or you would like an adviser that will give you business advice and help you grow your business? Whatever your answer there is an accountant for you.
Some accountants focus only on compliance accounting, like year-end accounts, bookkeeping and tax returns. There are now accountants who over the last few years have expanded their services to offer business advice, like PRWS. Those accountants do year-end accountant and tax, so that you are compliant with the law, but go beyond just the minimum services to advise you and to help you succeed. They will offer you services like budgeting, forecasting and will meet you more than once a year to always be ahead in your finances.
The accountants who are only doing the essential accounting services, let's call them "first step accountant", are useful as they help you to comply with the law and can advise you on your accounts and tax. The difference with the "accountant and business adviser" is that this one will go deeper into your accounts and will use forecasting and analysis to be able to help you grow your business. The First step accountant looks at the previous year to advise you whilst the accountant and business adviser combines the previous year, the ongoing year and will predict the next years. His services are useful as they will help you to be ready to overcome any challenges and difficulties that you might face.
Technology has developed over the years to make our life always a little easier. The finance world has not been forgotten. A lot of tools now exist to help your accountant and you being more efficient and proactive with your finances. Excel is still used and will probably be used forever. However, this well-known tool can be combined with cloud software and multiple apps to let you know in real-time where you are and where you can go. And most of the time, they can be used by you and your accountant. Therefore, both of you will be on the same track and working closely to always make sure your business is moving in the right direction. At PRWS Accountants, we use Xero. This software has been designed for small businesses and is really convenient. Click here to learn more about it.
4. How much?
Every service comes with a price. Depending if you are looking for an accountant who will take care of your books and your accounts or someone who will advise you, your bill will vary. However these costs are often offset by the savings you make or the growth that your business will experience as a result. Prestigious firms might have a great reputation built on years of success with many big clients, but is it really what you need? Are you ready to pay the price that comes with prestige? Small accounting practices often have a more nuanced understanding of small business accounts, are more focused on their local businesses, cost less and will know you by your name which can be exactly what you need.
Now that you have established what you are looking for, where can you find this perfect accountant?
The first step is to start by asking people around you, they might know somebody who is in business and is dealing with a good accountant. By asking your peers, you will also be informed by good references. Another way to find accounting firms is to use your virtual network. It is time to use your social media for more than just those funny cat videos. Ask your friends and followers if they have an accountant to refer you to. After you've done that if you are still unsure or would like to have more details, have a look on Google. By searching online, you will see who is local to you and can read reviews and consult their websites to have a better idea of who they are, if they match your criteria and read some testimonials. All of these information sources will give you an idea of if this accountant is the right for you.
Finally, according to us, the most important factor is the relationship. After you’ve determined what you are looking for and have made a list of potential accountants, meet them before choosing yours. This way you will be able to see which one is a good fit with you and who can help you prosper. You work hard to reach the business goals you have set, therefore it is important to have the right accountant for you!