Are you searching for a new accountancy service? Perhaps you’re fed up of your current accountant and wish to find a new one? As you begin your search, there are a number of things you should be looking out for in particular. These fundamentals will ensure you choose an appropriate service provider who knows what they are doing. When it comes to the success of your business, choosing the right accountant can be the difference between success and failure.
So without further ado – let us introduce to you our top 10 list of things every business needs from their accountant!
Help with Finances
Straight off the bat, this one is pretty obvious. What is the main reason for which you hire an accountant? To manage and organise your financial matters, of course! This is a full-time job in itself and many business owners simply do not have the time to complete the function themselves. It makes sense to hire an accountant and this is something every business should consider, no matter the size or stature.
Now every single accountant in the land will tell you they can assist in this area, but make sure you look at their current roster before signing up to anything. Do they have a lot of customers? What is the general size of each business using this accountancy service? Are they experienced in start-up business accounting? If they have businesses similar to yours already under their wing, the chances are they are a good fit for you too. Talk with your chosen supplier and see if they have an existing expertise in your area of business.
Personal and Tailored Approach
Now you’ve checked to see if your chosen accountant has experience in your trade; next it’s important to determine the level of service they can provide. The accountancy firm may have numerous businesses on the books that are similar to yours, but this is completely counterproductive if the firm treats you all the same.
A certain degree of personalisation is required to provide a tailored accountancy service. Why would you need a tailored service? To ensure it is more suitable for your exact business requirements. Don’t accept a one-size-fits-all approach, choose a service that is bespoke and non-robotic. This creates a much-improved client-customer relationship and ensures you receive the exact service required.
Proactive and Hands-on Work Ethic
This personal and tailored approach can only really be achieved by a proactive and hands-on work ethic. Being proactive allows you to stay one step ahead and ensures your accountant understands everything he or she needs to in order to make your business succeed. How can we begin to save you money on tax and other expenditures if we don’t have a thorough understanding of your business? How can we have this understanding without being hands-on? It’s simple logic really!
Don’t be too scared about handing over so much responsibility to your accountant either. They are there to help at the end of the day and providing them with as much information as possible will enable them to do so.
Legal and Tax Related Knowledge
This one goes without saying! If it seems your accountant of choice is lagging behind the competition in terms of legal and tax related knowledge, it is high time that you moved on! You do not want to choose an accountant who is forever attempting to keep abreast of tax changes and legal expertise. You want an accountant that already knows their stuff and is able to provide sound advice on the latest tax/legal/business related matters.
This is extremely important considering the amount of changes that occur within tax laws and regulations year-on-year. Each new tax year brings a new set of rules for businesses to abide by in terms of tax payments, tax codes and payroll processes etc.
Fixed or Clear Pricing Structure
No one likes hidden surprises when it comes to costs. The pricing structure will be one of the biggest deciding factors for you when it comes to choosing an accountancy firm. Ideally, you want to find a firm that provides exceptionally high standards of service but at an affordable cost. Most accountancy firms will have a clear pricing structure in place so that there is no ambiguity between customers.
Some accountancy firms also offer a fixed price service. This means the cost does not change throughout the entirety of a contract and allows a customer to know exactly where they stand. This can either take the form of one annual payment, or 12 monthly instalments, depending on your accountancy firm of choice. Just make sure the costs suit you and your business finances so that you’re not digging yourself a hole of debt!
Excellent and Frequent Communication
Lack of communication is a common complaint aimed towards many accountancy firms across the UK. Somewhat understandably, if an accountancy firm is particularly busy and their roster is jam-packed, it is often difficult for them to maintain a high level of communication across all clients. This really is no excuse though. As a customer you expect to be able to talk to your accountant whenever you need to and you have full right to think this way.
At the end of the day an accountancy firm is looking after your finances. If there is something you need to know regarding this area, you expect to obtain this information straight away. And so you should! A decent and professional accountancy service will provide the means to as much communication as you require, completely free of charge. If your accountancy firm charges you every time you pick up the phone, it is time you left to find another!
The Latest Technology
The last thing you want to see within an accountancy office in the year 2017 is desks and bookshelves full of paper! Paper is a thing of the past when it comes to keeping and maintaining records – the process is simply archaic! It’s all about online-based computing and cloud accountancy services these days.
If your accountant isn’t using the latest technology, it should make you wonder what else they are falling behind with. An accountant that is stuck in his or her way is an accountant that isn’t ready for the modern day. A simple rhyme that we stick to here at Franks Accountants!
Check our out post: Our Top 4 Accounting Software Platforms For Your Small Business
Business Plan and Loan Application Templates
When it comes to applying for a business loan or creating a solid business plan, you would hope you can turn to your accountants for some advice and general tips. In most cases, they may have had some experience with a similar company to yours and therefore can better advise what to include in your application.
Ask your chosen accountant if they have any templated documents you can use to create your business plan with. This isn’t a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing an accountant, but it does show that the firm has gone an extra step towards making your life easier. Accountants are experts when it comes to this kind of thing so they should be able to help with the creation of your plan or loan application.
Honesty and Reliability
Whether it is good news or bad news – ideally you just want the details up-front and honest. There is no need or reason for an accountant to hide any details from you, so you should expect nothing but complete honesty and transparency. If you feel as though your accountant is untrustworthy you should definitely consider choosing another service.
Reliability is also a key element to an accountant-customer relationship. If you feel you have to keep checking up on what your accountant is doing, then you are wasting time and money. A reputable and dependable accountant should be able to manage your finances without you intervening or worrying about performance.
Certification and Trust
Last but certainly not least, it is somewhat vital you choose an accountant that is certified or qualified to an extremely high standard. Chartered accountants are the most highly-skilled and highly-educated in their trade, recognised by regulatory bodies and the UK government. It will be easy to tell if your accountant of choice is certified – they’ll have a big certificate plastered across their office walls! Most chartered accountants also advertise themselves as being so on their website, business cards etc.
When hiring someone to look after your business finances and tax implications, you want to choose someone who is at the very top of the pile. A chartered accountant represents a professional who is the very best at what they do for a living. Put your trust in them and the results will speak for themselves!
Contact Franks Accountants Today
Why not give us a try to see how we can help your business grow and succeed? Here at Franks we believe we can offer all of the 10 necessities above plus a lot more! Simply give us a call on 01937 534242 to find out more or visit our Accountancy Services Page for more details.