Not everyone has a head for math or the time and inclination to tally figures. Tax laws & state financial regulations can be very complex and time-consuming to follow. This is where the number crunchers come into the picture. If you are a small business owner, it's important for you to have a competent and experienced accountant for your business. The person will do more than just tally your balance sheet as he or she can be your business advisor and consultant too.
Things to Consider
Current day accounting professionals are essentially strategic business partners, and do more than number crunching. When you are choosing an accountant for your business, these are the factors you should take into consideration:
#1 Professional Qualification
The accountant you choose should be professionally qualified and should belong to a recognised professional accounting body. In order to continue with their membership each year, accountants are required to complete a certain number of development hours. This is a prerequisite for them to ensure that their qualifications continue to be current and that they are following the industry best practices. The membership also necessitates that they stick to the set code of ethics & conduct
#2 Business Consultant
A competent accountant will go out of his way to help your business grow as he/she will bring a much wider commercial perspective into your business partnership. The person should be able to provide you with strategic and credible advice evaluate business problems effectively & offer suitable solutions. In order to do this, the accountant should be able to understand the industry you operate in well as the service or product you deal in.
#3 Client Portfolio
Regardless of whether you are a startup or a well-established business, it is crucial that you choose an accountant who has handled accounts for people from the same industry. Find out who the person's clients are- this will help you establish if his/her experience suits your business needs. For example, if you are in the export field, look for an accountant who has handled accounting for people from the same field
Today, there are a large number of business accounting tools available. Choosing a suitable package can go a long way in improving your business capabilities. The accountant you opt for should be tech-savvy, fluent with the use of current accounting software packages and should be able to make recommendations about which one would be best for you
#5 The Right Fit
You will work very closely with your accountant to discuss financial matters as well as broader questions related to business strategy. It also means, you have to be comfortable with interacting with the person on a regular basis. In addition to his/her financial expertise, there has to be a certain amount of personal chemistry too
#6 Making the Right Connections
When there are financial issues to be addressed, you will need an accounting professional who will respond promptly and pick-up the phone, answer an email or return a text in a timely manner. Since there are a number of communication channels available, it is important to clarify at the outset, which ones you will be using for communication on a regular basis. For your professional relationship to thrive, it's crucial that you both be on the same page
As you can see, choosing an accountant is not a decision you can't take lightly. It requires a certain amount of deliberation and you will have to take all these factors into consideration while choosing an accountant for your business.
When Competency Matters
Keep in mind that you will be opening up your books to him or her and will also be discussing your businesses' closely-held details and long-term business strategy etc. This makes it even more crucial that you ask questions and grill references. More significantly , understand what your business needs are and whether the accountant will be able to work shoulder to shoulder with you, to help you achieve them. This may take some time and effort but once you have identified a person who will be able to handle all your accounting work in a competent manner, you will have peace of mind while running your business.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.