Accountants are critical to the success of your organisation.
From completing your first self-assessment form as a self-employed individual through to your initial listing on the stock exchange, your accountant is a key resource in determining the future of the business. It is therefore vitally important that any business owner takes time to really consider who they are going to engage with and how they are going to work together for the best possible result.
There are a number of factors to be considered when looking at selecting the best possible accountant for your business needs. Firstly, it is important to realise that not all accountants have the same level of expertise. This does not necessarily mean that some are better or worse than others but rather that some accountants have chosen to have a degree of specialism.
For example if you are a dynamic growing business you may want an accountant that has knowledge and understanding about business grow and investment. Being aware of your precise needs will be the first step in selecting the best possible accountant.
Qualifications are clearly a good indicator that your potential choice of accountant is a sensible one. However, the industry knowledge and hands on experience of working with businesses like yours is actually far more critical to the success or failure of the relationship. Ultimately you want the confidence that your chosen accountant knows what he is talking about and understands your business and the best way to check that is look at what their clients say about them and don’t be afraid to ask to speak to some of their clients.
A larger practice with 20 plus accountants and support staff may be a good indicator if your business has complex accountancy requirements but it is not always a given that they are any more skilled than the smaller 5 person practice and the price tag will vary considerably.
Finally it is important to identify the ethos and approach of your accountant as this needs to resonate with that of your own organisation. A dynamic young company may benefit from using an accountant who is inclined to try new and innovative ways of providing the requisite services, for example using internet cloud-based solutions. A more traditional organisation may equally benefit form a more traditional accounting style.
Your relationship with your accountant is dynamic and needs to be two way. Take time to invest in the communication and relationship with your chosen accountant; this will pay dividends in the context of the longer-term success of your business.