How do you choose an accountant?
It is so important that when you are looking at hiring an accountant to support you with your self-assessment or Limited company accounts, that they are someone you can trust. The onus is on you when you run a business and not on the accountant. You must ensure you are happy with the information that’s submitted on your behalf and so its crucial that you trust your accountant.
- Has the accountant explained to you your responsibilities as a director if you are a Limited Company?
- Have they explained the pros and cons of being Self-employed as opposed to forming a Limited Company?
- Do you know what a Self-assessment is?
You should ideally have a basic knowledge of these things and be able to turn to your accountant when you are unsure. Ignorance is not an excuse if you are explaining why you haven’t followed the correct procedures/rules or guidelines to HMRC should you ever be investigated.
Where do you start?
- Family/friends/Business besties
Do you know anyone in your family or circle of friends who have their own business and hire an accountant? It is the best type of recommendation from someone who has used their services. It may be worth putting a message on social media and asking, perhaps ask them how they have found their services.
Do you have a business friend who could recommend someone to you? Ask around and i am sure someone is able to recommend someone they trust.
- Networking group
You may not know anyone who has a business and in that case, you could listen out for businesses recommended at networking events. Perhaps there is a guest speaker or someone you have spoken to at a networking event. Or maybe you can post on a group and get some recommendations.
You usually get a feeling when speaking to someone. Do they seem supportive? Willing to answer your queries? Do other people at the networking events recommend them?
If this information isn’t readily available why don’t you ask the networking organiser if they have someone they can recommend. If you get their contact details you can give them a call or arrange a meeting and decide if they are right for you.
- Gather some details of various accountants and research
I would suggest you gather the names and contact details of a few accountants and then do a little research.
- Do they have social media pages you can have a look at?
- Do they provide useful information relevant to you?
- Do they have a website?
- Can you see who the people are behind the business from their website?
- Are there any reviews on their pages or website?
All these questions are things to think about before you contact them. You don’t want to waste your time if they are not the right company for you.
Bear in mind, if they are a large business they may deal with large multi-million-pound companies and that will be reflected in their prices. Is there a local business? Or family run business that could help you to keep your costs down.
Once you have found someone now what?
- Give them a call and arrange a meeting if they are local. You can gage a lot from meeting someone face to face or having a chat over the phone (they may even be able to arrange a Skype/Zoom call if they aren’t local). Go with your gut.
- Think of any questions you may have prior to the meeting so you can get some reassurance and easily compare one company from the other when looking at coming to a decision
- What are your prices to complete my self-assessment?
- Will you do the bookkeeping or is this something I need to do?
- Is there a different charge for the bookkeeping?
- Are there any other charges I should be aware of?
- If this is new to you perhaps ask where you should go should you have any other queries or you are unsure of anything
- You don’t want to come out of a meeting/call with more questions that you went it with
- If they aren’t willing to let you know a price or don’t give you a definitive answer
- If you don’t get a good feeling or you don’t feel they were very supportive
What I have learned recently, from a customers point of view and business owner, is that you will know if that person is right for you. I am now much more comfortable when someone decides to not join me and use my services, I am not for everyone and that’s ok.
Good luck in your search and please get in touch if i can help at all