There are so many accountants to choose from today, that it’s no wonder it’s so hard to find the right one for you. All you have to do is look at one or more typical sized town such as Brighton for instance, and you can see just by looking in the local listings how many there are.
You will find “accountants” that don’t have any particular formal qualifications, you’ll find them that deem themselves to be “accounting technicians”, and you’ll also find others who deem themselves to be bookkeepers. Additionally, you’ll find accountants out there who are chartered, and also those that are chartered certified accountants just to add a bit of variety and formality into the mix.
In order to make it a little bit easier to find a qualified accountant to assist you with your financial record-keeping, we’ve put together eight tips that should be of benefit wherever you are.
1. Before you ever hire an accountant, you need to first understand what their qualifications are and give those thorough consideration. Whether you believe it or not, this is one of the most critical aspects having to do with choosing an accountant, simply because of the fact that in order to list yourself as an accountant in the United Kingdom, you don’t have to have any formal qualifications. So despite whether or not you think that all accountants are the same, you can be assured that they are not. By not checking the qualifications, you can be handing all of your financial responsibilities and accounting needs over to somebody who has absolutely no idea what they’re doing, and that can lead you into some real serious issues.
When you think about it, would you ever entrust a lawyer to defend you in a court of law who didn’t have any formal qualifications, and would you not check their qualifications first?, Or perhaps a surgeon who is going to perform an operation on you. Would you not take the time to consider if they are qualified for the job before you allow them to operate on you? Since your finances are an important part of your business and your livelihood, it’s important to make sure that your accountant has all of the necessary credentials and qualifications to perform the duties that they are stating they are able to do.
2. The next issue that you need to consider when hiring an accountant is the level of experience that they have. While the accountant may have plenty of experience handling the personal accounts of individuals, they may not have a sufficient amount of experience to correctly manage the finances of a large business. So when you are shopping around for your accountant, make sure that they have the necessary experience that will allow them to function and perform well within the scope of the work you have for them.
3. The third thing that you need to consider is how they go about billing their clients. This is necessary because some accountants will charge their clients by the hour, and will also charge any time you have to make a phone call, or attend a meeting. There are however other accountants that operate on a fixed fee, which will allow you to know exactly how much the accountant is going to cost before you hire them.
4. If you have any friends, family, or business relationships who have made use of the services of an accountant, and are able to recommend one that is qualified and skilled in the practice, ask them for those recommendations as this can save you a lot of time.
5. When you are interviewing an accountant, ask specifically whether they are going to be handling your accounts themselves, or if it will be passed on to one of their subordinates who is working for them. It might not be such a good idea to put important work in the hands of a trainee who is just getting started in the field.
6. The next important consideration to find out is whether or not they are going to be available to talk to you if you need to speak with them for any reason. Attempt to contact them through their e-mail and see how quickly they respond, or if they respond at all. This will give you a really good idea of how dependable this accountant is going to be as far as being able to communicate with them when you need to.
7. The next topic of importance that you want to consider is where the accountant is located. If you have a ton of paperwork and files that you need to deliver to the accountant, then it’s not very convenient if they don’t have adequate parking and you have to haul all of these files several blocks down the street before you can enter their office. Parking and location can be a significant inconvenience in such a situation, so check it out.
8. Since the accountant is going to be handling all of your financial affairs, it’s important that you have a good rapport with them. If you’re not able to communicate with them well, or if you don’t feel comfortable around this person, then it should be a given that you wouldn’t want to entrust all of your finances with them.
If you use the advice listed above, chances are you will be able to find an accountant that will be able to help you to steer clear of a lot of unnecessary tax liability, and keep all of your finances in order. In addition, it’s our hope that following through with these tips will help you to avoid wasting any time or resources on an accountant that simply isn’t qualified to do the job.