Advertising
Advertising

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:

    Advertising

    • 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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    More by this author

    How to Complain Successfully (and Get Results) What Drinking Coffee Does to You Invoice finance funds The Differences Between Factoring and Invoice Discounting Accountancy Services How to Find the Right Accountant for Your Business

    Trending in Money

    1 The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever) 2 25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast 3 What Is a Good Credit Score (And How to Get One) 4 9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life 5 10 Reasons Why Following Your Passion Is More Important Than Money

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

    The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

    Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

    Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

    Identifying All of Your Debts

    The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

    Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

    1. Own Your Debt

    Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

    Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

    2. Make a Debt Tracker

    It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

    Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

    3. Get Your Debt Number

    Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

    Prioritizing Your Debts

    All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

    Advertising

    1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

    Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

    There are three main types of bad debt:

    • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
    • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
    • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

    Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

    • Student Loan Debt
    • Mortgage Loan
    • Business Loans

    2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

    Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

    Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

    If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

    3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

    Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

    Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

    Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

    1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

    “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

    It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

    Advertising

    Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

    Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

    2. Hide Your Credit Cards

    If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

    Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

    3. Automate Everything

    Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

    4. Plan Ahead

    Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

    For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

    5. Live Cheaply

    The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

    • Live with roommates
    • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
    • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
    • Take public transit or bike to work

    Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

    The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

    If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

    Advertising

    1. Maintain a High Credit Score

    Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

    • Never miss a payment
    • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
    • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
    • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
    • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

    2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

    Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

    Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

    If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

    How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

    Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

    1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

    Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

    Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

    2. Earn More Money

    There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

    Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

    Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

    Advertising

    Talk to Your Boss

    Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

    Start a Side Hustle

    This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

    Build an Online Business

    There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

    3. Celebrate Your Wins

    As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

    While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

    4. Set New Financial Goals

    Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

    Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

    These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

    Conclusion

    Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

    Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

    More Tips on Getting out of Debt

    Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next