Choosing the right accountant for your first business is one of the most important, and sometimes confusing, decision you will make as a business owner. Having the right accountant can save you time, money and stress and help your business grow. Choosing the wrong accountant however could cost your business money.

So, how to choose an accountant. It’s a big decision, and there are so many out there who claim to be the right ones for your company. So the team at Footprints have some advice.

Are they qualified?

It’s important your accountant has the relevant knowledge and abilities to advise you correctly – and to the full capabilities that you and your growing business need. Ask them: what professional body are they with? What exams have they completed? Do they have professional indemnity insurance? All this information will able you to make the right decision and make sure you get the best for your money. You don’t want to sign up with someone and then find out they can’t do your complicated tax return or gather the information you need to secure a loan – a fully qualified accountancy should be able to help you on all aspects of finance.

Look for a business partner

When searching for an accountant that is going to fit with your concept, be on the lookout for someone who will understand and take interest in your business and not just someone to do the figures. We truly believe that your accountant should act like your business partner. They should help you understand not only the figures, but what those figures mean for your business. Don’t settle for a ‘once a year meeting, never available to speak’ accountant. Give your business the best chance possible.

Who will keep up – with you and technology?

Every business owner wants their business to grow, to make more money and to expand. To ensure this is possible it is vital to have a team that will grow with you. They must also keep up with a changing industry. Accountancy is ever changing and the software’s and procedures are always improving. For example, years ago it was all paper based and would take forever for your work to be completed. Now, we use the Cloud and amazing products like QuickBooks Online which means our business, and accounts, can be as versatile and portable as our busy lives. When looking for an accountant, make sure they are embracing these changes and not afraid to change to more modern ways.

Meet with at least 3

As there is so many accountants out there, don’t limit yourself with meeting just one. Most practices offer free consultations – take them up on their offer! Meet with at least 3 accountants, see who you feel comfortable with and who you think you could have a great business relationship with. The more you share with them, the more they can help you so go prepared with facts and figures ready to get realistic answers.

Recommendations

These can be the most powerful tool in choosing who to do business with. A good word of mouth is a powerful tool. So if someone you trust uses a service then try them out, meet up with them – if they have made the effort to tell you it’s great, then it must be worth the time. Also, check with other business owners in your sector to see who they use for their services. Maybe there is a local expert in your area who deals with most businesses like yours that you could have missed out on.

Communication

Communication between you and your accountancy team is key. When you need quick advice, an urgent problem sorting or reassurance on figures, codes and deadlines – they’re the people you’re going to turn too. So make sure you know how often you can call, email or contact them. Are you going to be charged for each phone call? How many annual meetings does your quote involve? For example, at Footprints you can call us unlimited amounts – you will not be charged. Come in for a chat as many times as you like – your bill will be no higher. Make sure you get this information from them so you don’t have any nasty surprises at the end of the year. Also, find out how many people you will be dealing with. Will you have one person working on your company that you can speak to? It may be that the work will passed around the office and you may end up dealing with someone else each time you contact them.

Cost

That all important factor! This will most probably be the most important part of your decision – is it affordable? Check the full price for all services you are requiring at the meeting; what it includes and what extras may be adding on if you wish to do so. This way, you can make an informed decision with one or more full quotes. Click here to see our monthly prices for all ranges of business accounts. Also, some places offer Direct Debit services so you can pay monthly in advance for your end of year accountancy work. See what options are available for your business.

Here at Footprints we want to help your business succeed and grow. Not only are we CIMA management accountants, business advisers and have experience in start-ups but we have certified Growth coaches on our team who can help you every step of the way. We can help our clients with any aspect of business advice they require. We offer first time consultancy meetings for free; so please do get in touch if you would like more information on our services.