Since there seems to be quite a few accountants on BH I thought I might ask some advice.
I'm looking for a new accountant and I feel like I don't know what I don't know.
What should I be asking? Looking for?
Basically I run a very small business and hubby is a sub contractor. My business has a bookkeeper but I've never had an accountant beyond someone doing my once a year tax return. I feel like we both need more financial guidance..
Any tips or tricks on what to ask for/look for when shop for for an accountant?
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19-04-2016 12:09 #1
19-04-2016 12:31 #2
there's no magic formula for what to look for but I guess what's most important is finding someone with whom you have good rapport and feel you can trust. someone who responds to your emails/phone calls in a timely fashion is also worth their weight in gold. I run a small business from home and my clients constantly complain about their accountants ignoring their calls/emails and how they don't feel supported. they said they basically only hear from them most when they have an invoice to be paid! which is very poor show if you ask me.
obviously someone whose fees match your budget goes without saying. ensure you're getting value for the fees you pay, don't be afraid to speak up if you feel short changed. if you would like an invoice explained in more detail to get an idea of how they arrived at the fee, just ask! don't necessarily think higher fees equals better service, it doesn't.
I'd also make sure whoever you go with is a member of either the CA or CPA.
can't think of anything else right now. I think that pretty much covers the most important things!
19-04-2016 13:05 #3
Just wanted to pop in and say that I am an accountant but not the type that works in public practice so I don't actually do tax returns or things like that.
I work in management accounting for a large organization and my role is mainly analyzing profit an loss, budgets, forecasting etc. So sorry can't really help out with your question.
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19-04-2016 13:33 #4
19-04-2016 13:35 #5
19-04-2016 13:49 #6
19-04-2016 13:59 #7
so you might find your cash flow is bad and the business is always running low on cash and this is something you'd like better control over....if you mention this to the accountant, they should be able to suggest tools (such as a cash flow forecast) that would assist you in better managing your cash flow.
you'll need to identify "weaknesses" in your business/operations for which you'd like assistance. otherwise the accountant won't know what you're after. esp as a new client. with established clients whose business an accountant is more familiar with, suggestions from the accountant might be more forthcoming as they're across things more and are better placed to suggest solutions. but as a new client, you'll need to go in with a bit of a shopping list of things you want, or at least issues you've identified that you'd like a solution to.
does that make sense?
19-04-2016 14:06 #8
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19-04-2016 14:13 #9
I'm actually shocked at the number of slacker accountants out there. people who charge fees yet rarely bother to respond to their clients in a timely fashion.
are you happy with the yearly quote idea? personally I would only charge fees for services rendered, and as a client I'd only pay for services/work received. the monthly payment plan sounds like a bit of a cash flow guarantee for him. there'll be months when he's doing nothing yet receiving money. I think there's more incentive for him to earn/work for your money by invoicing after he's done the work. if you prepay him for work not yet done, there's little incentive for him to go above and beyond in terms of service as he's already got your money. just something to think about...
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