In these challenging times that we are all going through, having the right help on your side can mean the difference between thriving and closing down shop. An accountant can be an invaluable partner in your entrepreneurial journey but only if you find a good one for your business.
A good small business accountant has many years of experience helping companies like yours and can bring a different perspective to your unique business challenges. Besides their expertise in taxation and financial planning, a good business accountant will be there to support your company throughout the year and not just at tax time.
If you want to find the best accountant for your store, BrooksCity Chartered Accountants has put together their six top tips to help you choose the right one.
1. Consider your needs
Ask yourself if you just want someone at year-end to file taxes on your behalf or if you also need them to handle your bookkeeping. Do you want on-going support and advice as your business grows? Most retail shop owners want advice on a wide range of things and accountants are in a good position to help because of their well-rounded knowledge.
2. Ask for referrals
A good starting point to finding the best accountant for a small business is asking for referrals from your close business circle. Ask your lawyer, your banker and fellow entrepreneurs. Some trade associations may also provide referrals. While referrals are a good starting point, don’t hesitate to do your own research and contact prospective accountants you feel may be a good fit to help.
3. Assess their credential
While anybody can call himself or herself an accountant, working with a chartered or certified professional is better. That’s because being part of a professional accounting body and earning a certification shows they have gone through rigorous training and are bound to a strict code of ethics.
4. Talk technology
The days of shoebox accounting are long gone and accounting technology has made great strides in keeping up with the times. While spreadsheets are the common working method of most accountants, there is now powerful cloud accounting software that offers a host of benefits to it’s users.
Ask your accountant about the tools and apps they use and look for one that is up to the data with the latest technology. This will save you time and money in the end besides giving on-demand access to your financial data from anywhere.
5. Determine accessibility
If you’re just starting out you may need more support to get off the ground. Ask your prospective accountant about their availability and their preferred method of communication to see if it matches your expectations.
If you like to have your accountant on the phone all the time, working with a small accounting firm may be best because they can afford to spend more time with their clients.
On the other hand, larger firms tend to assign you an account manager instead and you won’t get to talk much if at all to the person working on your accounts.
6. Find out pricing
Most accountants charge an hourly rate that ranges from £35 per hour for basic services up to £150+ for more complex work such as tax planning. If you know your needs really well, look for an accountant that instead offers fixed fee pricing.
It’s not uncommon to find fixed priced accounting packages for small business at around £99 per month. Just make sure you understand exactly what’s included and what will be considered extra. Ask if you will be charged extra for support and on-going advice.