Wondering what you should look for when choosing an accountant – here are some great tips to make things easier.
1. Check for Professional Qualifications
Most specialist accounting firms that offer their services to consultants are typically operated by chartered accountants that have chosen to specialize but also have the relevant professional qualifications and code of ethics, which should be enough to at least give you some level of comfort. It would just be unwise to deal with an unqualified firm.
2. The Size of the Firm (Is it Large or Small?)
The number of clients that a business accountants firm handles varies considerably from a couple of hundred to several thousand clients.
The style of service is typically reflected in the numbers and you need to consider whether you prefer an “institutional” type service as a larger organization will most likely offer you compared with the more personal level of service that you can expect a smaller firm to provide.
For instance, if you require telephone support at partner level with the same individual whenever you call, it might be better for you to choose a smaller organization as opposed to a larger accounting firm.
Whenever possible, it is always useful to get a recommendation from a colleague. Get in touch with other contractors and you will quickly discover the ones offering quality service and the ones you need to avoid.
If you hire an accountant who prefers using an independent cloud-based accounting service, then it would be more straightforward to change at a later date. It may well be that the firm you hire now will not necessarily be the right one for you several years later once the contracting business has expanded.
4. Cost of the Service
You can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $160 per month if you prefer the specialist package.
It is very important to consider exactly what is offered when comparing costs because the higher priced packages may be “fully inclusive” compared to those marketed as cheaper, but you might find yourself being subjected to additional charges, for instance, completion of your personal tax return, registered office address, etc.
Keep in mind that as with just about everything else in life, you will often get what you pay for and the cheapest one might not necessarily meet your requirements.
5. Changing Accountants
If in hindsight you make the wrong choice and would like to change accountants then this is something to consider doing. The transition might involve a bit of pain and hassle, but everything should settle down after several months.
Obviously, it might be that you have outgrown your current accountant and moved out of the demographic of clients the firm is designed to cater for. This usually happens once you start earning more money and require tax planning advice or if you start growing the business by hiring employees and become a small business.
Some accounting firms offer different packages to cater for this so that you stay with them throughout your business journey. Such firms are definitely worth considering since the accounting firm that gets to know you well can also offer you better long-term support.