There are a number of factors that business owners should take into account in deciding which accountant to use:
- Relationships. It’s important that you choose an accountant that you can get on with. Do they make you feel at ease and are they welcoming? Are they stuffy and old fashioned or informal and modern in outlook?
- Size of Firm. Unless you’re planning to float your business on the NSX, utilising a “big” name in the world of accountancy is unnecessary and expensive. Medium sized firms can be less costly but unless they have very good individual partners they often fall between two stools, as being too expensive without offering the benefit of having a global and respected brand attached to your business. That leaves smaller firms which can be good or bad, depending on their owners, so it’s important to choose well!
- Stage in the Business Life Cycle. If you’re a start-up you’ll need a lot more help and advice than a seasoned long-established business owner so look for one who specialises in Start-Ups or is prepared to take a long-term view and give you help as part of the deal without stressing-out your bank manager!
- Experience. Having experience outside of Chartered Accountancy, in different countries, or being a business owner in other industries enables a good accountant to look at your business with a wider perspective.
- Type of Business Owner. Are you looking for lifestyle or are you a “Business Builder”? As both are completely different, typically the accountant who is useful to you as a more relaxed “lifestyler” won’t be able to help you grow and improve your business.
- Fee Levels can be misleading unless you know what someone is getting in return. Are they getting a lot of help and advice on top or just the annual financials and tax returns?
- Your Budget. There’s a lot of talk about accountants not being pro-active but there’s always two sides to every story. Often, business owners want to pay peanuts (not that they’re cheap these days!) but expect a Rolls-Royce service!
- Opposites Don’t Attract. If business owners are disorganised and a pain to deal with it’s unlikely to they’re going to be able to hang onto a good accountant who attracts loads of other clients who are a pleasure to deal with!
- Fees. Look for someone who can give you a fixed quote. If they say they can’t it probably means they’re inexperienced or lack confidence which should ring the alarm bells.
If you need a hand to choose a good accountant that suits you just let me know on 021 225 NICK.