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How to Find the Right Accountant for Your Business

How to Find the Right Accountant for Your Business

Accountancy Services
    Are you paying too much tax? Are your financial figures accurate? Is your accounting software efficient enough? If you are looking for a new accountant, how do you find the right one?

    A lot of questions, to be sure. But where do you start?

    Below is a checklist of what to consider when looking for the right accountancy services:

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    • Qualifications?
    • Do they have industry experience?
    • Fee structure
    • Is the size of the accounting firm convenient for you?
    • Are they in the right location?

    Choosing the right accountant can be a very daunting challenge. Whether you’re a sole trader, limited company or multi-national company, it is likely that you will need the services of an accountant to prepare your end-of-year financial statements and tax accounts.

    As a business owner, it’s important to choose an accountant that acts not only as a bookkeeper, auditor or tax advisor but also as a trusted financial advisor. The idea is that they can advise you on business risks and manage your finances effectively. The accountant will have access to your financial information, so you need to be able to trust your accountant.

    Qualifications?

    Anyone could set up their own business and call themselves an accountant. You can wake up in the morning and decide “I’ll be an accountant today”. It is in your best interests to work with a qualified accountant. Taking a gamble with an unqualified accountant is taking a gamble with your finances and the future of your business.

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    Accountants can only become qualified through one of the following UK bodies:

    • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
    • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
    • Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland(ICAS)

    Once you approach an accountant, you must find out if they are a member of one of the above institutions – you request for proof of membership. Alternatively, you can check an accountant’s membership of these institutions and their qualifications directly with the relevant organisation.

    Industry experience?

    Accounting is a general field. In addition to certifications, you should look for accountants with expertise in your industry sector or in a similar industry. Some accounting firms may have experience in non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), recruitment or manufacturing businesses.

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    Accountants don’t offer just basic bookkeeping and auditing services; they also provide expert insights. An accountant with experience in your sector should fully comprehend the issues and challenges faced and could provide invaluable advice when needed.

    Fee structure

    How much does the accountant charge? For some businesses, this will be the main choice factor. Look for accountants that allow for fixed monthly fees, instead of supplying one lump sum bill at the end of the year. There’s no doubt that a fixed fee for accountancy services avoids any nasty surprises when the invoice lands on your desk.

    Most businesses expect a reasonable charge for a good accountancy service during the financial year. The accountant may not feel inclined to offer additional support if they are making a loss by preparing your accounts. Remember, accountants can save you money and are more likely to do so if you have a good working partnership.

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    Size of accounting firm

    It’s advisable to speak to an accountant that is similar in size to your business. For most start-ups, a small accounting firm is often a more attractive option than a large multi-national accounting business – large corporations feel more comfortable employing a large, name-brand accounting firm.

    Location

    Most people have internet access 24/7 so this might not be very important for your business. This applies particularly to businesses that prefer to meet their accountant. A locally-based accountant is usually more approachable as they should be more amicable to visiting you at your premises – after all, they are working for you. They can set up accounting or bookkeeping software on your PC.

    Whilst the accounting industry is regulated by independent institutions, this is no guarantee that all accountants will be suitable for your business. Even if you find an accountant that ticks all the boxes in the checklist above, this is no guarantee that their services will be tailored to your business’ needs.

    It’s advisable to speak to a commercial finance broker, as they’ve established relationships with a strong network of accountancy firms across the UK. The stand-out factors of the accountants they work with is that they provide a proactive service, are established, qualified accountants with excellent track records who work with your business 365 days a year…and not just at year’s end.

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    Last Updated on April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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