UK Small Business: How to Find the Perfect AccountantWritten by Uwe on January 22, 2018
It’s probably no big surprise that finance is an integral part of every business, which is why having the right accountant is crucial to your success.
A successful accountant can offer so many amazing benefits, from tax relief to helping you find investments and other funding.
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There are many great resources online for finding the perfect accountant for your UK small business. For example, you can visit the aptly-named FindUKAccountant or the Accountant Directory to get a list of the best ones in your area.
But finding and then choosing the perfect accountant can be quite a task, especially if you aren’t exactly what it is you’re looking for.
After all, you may not have adequate accounting experience, although you know that you need sound financial advice, planning and processing to really make your business a success.
That’s why today we’ll look at the best ways you can find the perfect accountant for your UK small business.
1. Why do I need an accountant at all?
Finding an accountant for your UK small business can be hard, but first you need to understand the benefits that the perfect accountant can bring.
Save time and money
An accountant is trained in finance, whereas you are probably not. You will spend hours and weeks trying to find a solution or make sense of some issue.
Your accountant can do that in a few minutes or hours, meaning you are saving your time and money.
Accountants are also well-versed in tax laws, meaning your perfect accountant will know the tax exemptions or tax relief measures you can implement to save your business serious money.
Experienced accountants have been in the game long enough to identify the pattern and have learned by experience how to get out of a problem.
This means that the perfect accountant for your UK small business will be able to give you advice on financial aspects of your business, such as payroll and investments.
Identifying weak finance aspects
Lastly, knowledgeable accountants are able to help you identify and fix the weak aspects of your business finances.
These accountants will be able to evaluate your financial information and create suitable solutions to help your business be more efficient.
2. Find the perfect accountant with these crucial questions
For your UK small business, getting a list of accountants in your area or industry won’t be so difficult. However, determining which of these accountants is the best for your business is a bit harder.
That’s why you need to ask these 4 questions first.
“How much experience do you have?”
This question is pretty much addressing the length of time the accountant has been in business. At the surface, it seems to be about age, but in reality it is about experience and practical knowledge.
If the accountant has been in business for quite a while, that person will have valuable information based on the amount of clients they’ve worked with.
For that reason, it’s also important to see if you can get in contact with their former or current clients—especially those in a similar niche as yours.
That way you can ask pointed questions and get a good idea of how effective this accountant is.
“How do you stay up-to-date?”
This question is important to ask as a second question because, while the accountant may be in business for quite a while, it doesn’t mean that he or she is up-to-date.
Many professionals who have been in business for a considerable length of time simply stick to what they know without bothering to get additional information.
This doesn’t mean that the accountant has to be aware of every gadget or software that comes out, but he or she should stay up-to-date with taxation, relevant laws and new, innovative processes.
“Who’ll be handling my accounts?”
This may seem like an unimportant question, but in reality some accounting firms simply move their clients’ accounts around.
So, instead of having one dedicated accountant for your accounts, they may pass your account around to different people.
This can be really frustrating, especially if you’re a newer business owner. You may not have the experience and trust of working with an accountant, so you’ll probably have lots of questions.
If your account keeps getting moved around, that means that you’ll potentially be talking to a different person each time.
Lastly, let’s not forget that your UK small business is still small, and therefore you’ll need to find the perfect accountant…suitable to your budget.
Can you afford the big boys and big girls that normally handle corporate accounts? Probably not. You need someone who can handle your accounts effectively, but who also won’t break the bank.
For this reason, you should make sure to get the money question out of the way on your first meeting or discussion with the accounting agency.
Accountants find a few ways to charge their clients, but two of the most popular are per hour and for a fixed fee.
Per hour can change depending on the task, but you have much more flexibility there. You pay what you can afford, so it’s sort of like a pay-as-you-go.
The fixed fee is also great for the UK small business that wants stability and to know how much things will cost on a regular basis.
Find out which payment system they have and decide which is best for your and your UK small business.
With these tips, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect accountant for your small business.