CONSIDERATIONS WHEN CHOOSING, OR CHANGING, YOUR ACCOUNTANT
As your business grows in complexity, an accountant with more resources and experience may be necessary.
For some, the thought of changing accountant is a major decision and daunting process.
Your accountant should be a valued and trusted resource for your business, your stakeholders and your family. It is imperative that you have a productive relationship with your accountant, and the selection of an appropriate accountant is a very critical decision.
Here are a few questions and considerations to be made when looking to choose or change accountants:
Client Service Approach / Individual Driven: Your accountant should make themselves known to key people within your business. They should be a good listener and provide thorough and concise advice when delivering their support. You should never be left with questions unanswered or ever feel a sense of confusion.
Technical Approach / Business Driven: Your accountant should be known for experience and sustainability within the community and selected based on their skill set.
All parties must be on the same page. This requires careful consideration of your business’s needs and matching those with an appropriately qualified accountant.
Making such a decision in the absence of careful research and deliberation is like gambling with your business’s future.
What should you expect from an Accountant?
First and foremost, you need to assess your business requirements. Tax returns and bookkeeping are the basic services every accountant should provide. Look for someone who can provide compliance and time-saving services but also: Tax Planning, Strategic Planning, Business Valuations, Innovation support towards Research and Development, SMSF Audits and Business Development.
Equally important is that your Accountant has a partner Financial Adviser for your financial planning needs.
Consider your future plans: your business may be small and simple today, but what about next year? If you have plans for significant growth and expansion, you’ll need an accountant with resources to serve you through this process. Where businesses go through significant change, it is often the ‘unknown unknowns’ that are the most significant threat. In this scenario, seeking a proactive accountant with business experience with companies similar to your aspirations will help you avoid unknown liabilities or missed opportunities as you grow.
Geographical barriers are now a thing of past. With today’s technology and resources, you don’t necessarily have to live within proximity of your accountant’s office.
With email communication and on-line meetings / appointments, the world is a smaller place. Having an accountant close to your premises is an added convenience but not entirely necessary when considering how many meetings you will have throughout the year.
So, how do you know which is the right accountant for you and your business?
Here are a few things to think about:
Who will be doing the work on your account? It’s prudent to meet the staff that you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis to assess their qualifications and service style.
Are the personalities a good fit? Your accountant will be an integral part of your team and, just as when you’re hiring an employee, you’ll want to ensure there’s an absence of red flags that you or your staff won’t work well with them.
Do you feel confident and comfortable with your accountant? Your accountant should be impressive, but not intimidating. You need to be able to ask questions and trust that you will receive honest answers, delivered in a way that you understand.
Do they have a strong professional network and, if so, are they open to making introductions for you? A well-connected accountant can be an invaluable resource to locate other professionals that can be vital to the success of your business (including referrals to solicitors and financial advisors)
Ask them to describe a specific instance where they have provided exceptional value to a client. Their response may provide insight into how well they serve their clients and what their concept of value may be.
Of course, the above suggestions are just that….suggestions for selecting an accountant.
At Hub we believe it should be a pleasure meeting with your accountant and not a chore.
Larry Urdarov, Managing Director and Accountant | Hub Advisory Group