By Morgan International Staff Writers
For many small businesses, hiring an accountant can seem a bit daunting. They are often not really sure what they are looking for, and what will make an accountant a good fit for their firm. To some it may seem like all accountants and practices are the same, but this could not be further from the truth. So we are here to help you with 7 questions to ask before hiring an accountant.
- How long have you been in business?
Avoid a start-up as you will benefit from an accountant who has experience of the challenges that small businesses face.
- How many clients do you personally manage?
You want to make sure that the accountant will have sufficient time for your business, but equally if they have just a few clients, it may raise alarm bells about why they have been unable to attract/keep more clients.
- Do you have references?
This is crucially important. You need to see references from current or very recent clients who have lots of good but honest things to say about the accountant.
- What is the charging structure?
You need to be clear how fees will work. Be cautious that where there is a fixed fee, it includes all of the services you would expect to be included. You do not want to be surprised by unexpected expenses.
- Will my account be managed by on person?
For consistency, it is advantageous for one person to manage the account. Of course you expect there to be cover when that person is away.
- How often will I receive a P+L?
Some firms will prepare a P+L on a monthly basis which is very useful to keep a track on business profitability, particularly for small businesses.
- Can you provide advice?
You will likely have plenty of questions about taxes, expenses lines, and so on. You need to feel confident that your accountant will be readily available and happy to answer those questions.
In summary, hiring an accountant is a big decision for businesses. Make sure you take the time to ask the questions above, and anymore you might have before you make an appointment.