Finding a reliable and capable accountant is invaluable. Finding a good one isn’t a matter of finding the best one; it’s finding the best one for your needs.
A good accountant should be able to provide options and/or tax savings that will, in turn, cover a portion of their fees.
For example your sales may be flat, while your costs are creeping higher. A good accountant can suggest ways to improve your sales, increase efficiency and/or overcome challenges. They can guide you and prevent costly, time-consuming mistakes.
When looking/interviewing candidates, consider the following:
Questions to ask yourself:
• Where are you in the business cycle and what are your plans? This will help to determine the partner and the firm you require.
• Do you want personal service and specific expertise? Do you want a proactive or reactive firm?
• When do you need them? But, remember, with ever-changing tax legislation and continual changes to accounting rules, having an experienced accountant on hand is invaluable.
• What type of person/firm do you want for the journey, either in entrepreneurship or if you expand to a professionally managed company?
Questions to ask candidates:
• How many years of experience do they have?
• How much experience do they have in your industry? Some businesses have specialized accounting rules (construction, real estate) that must be taken into consideration.
• How fast is their response time?
• What is your banker/attorney’s opinion of them? Bankers and lawyers are aware of good accountants, and recognize strong financial statements and reports.
• Are you comfortable with them overall? It is important to feel trust and at ease. Gut-feeling should always be a factor.
This is a massive decision, so treat it as such. Your CA may be on your team of advisors with a lawyer, banker, insurance person, and other business associates. In fact, your CA may be your “trusted business advisor”.
Interview a minimum of three firms to get an idea of the size of the firm and the team you will be working with in the future.
Remember, this is one area of your business you don’t want to skimp on. In this area, you get what you pay for.