Keeping track of the finances of your business is an essential but also a demanding task. If you take a wrong turn, you can find yourself faced with tax problems, paying fines, and losing money. For this reason, you should consider hiring a professional accountant who will help you avoid accounting errors and make sure your company’s accounts are accurate.
In order to find the right accountant for your company, you need to know where to look and what questions to ask. Below are a few examples of such questions that will help guide you through the whole process.
1. What Does Your Business Need?
When looking for an accountant, you should begin with a simple question: What kind of accounting services does your business need? Here are a few examples of what a professional accountant can help you with:
- Analyze your finances
- Prepare financial statements
- Manage your books
- Prepare tax returns
- Assist you with payroll tasks
- Help you with end-of-year tasks
- Ensure your company is compliant with the latest regulations
Determine the main reason why you need an accountant, and then search for a candidate who possesses the qualifications you require.
2. Where to Search for an Accountant?
The next step is to look for accountants. Many business owners search locally, but there are also lots of affordable and efficient options available online. If you’re willing to communicate electronically, an online accounting service can be just as effective as an accountant who has an office nearby.
One way to find an experienced and reliable accountant or accounting service is by asking around for recommendations from friends, relatives, and business professionals in your sector. If you don’t receive any reliable recommendations, want to keep your choices open, or have no one to ask for recommendations from, you can always conduct your own research. This includes accessing a business directory, reading reviews online, and conducting online searches. A rule of thumb when searching online is to read both positive and negative evaluations so that you can observe a wide range of different experiences and make sure you make the right decision.
3. What Questions Should You Ask?
After doing some research, select a smaller number of potential candidates and start contacting them to arrange a meeting. Then, conduct interviews with the candidates on your list to determine which one is the best fit for your company. You should plan ahead for this interview, which includes formulating a list of questions you’re going to ask. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- What accounting services do you provide?
- What kind of accounting skills and experience do you have?
- Also, what types of businesses do you work with?
- How do you communicate with your clients?
- Which accounting tools do you use?
To make sure that the accountant is a good fit for your business, you should also ask them if they have experience handling the books of businesses that are comparable to yours in terms of niche, size, industry, and transaction volume. If your company serves foreign clients, ensure that your accountant has experience working with international businesses, knowledge of international tax laws, and experience interacting with regulatory authorities of other countries.
The more inquiries you make, the higher your chances of obtaining the appropriate accountant. In addition, you should pay attention to red flags such as overpromising and lacking credentials. Last but not least, while you talk to candidates for the job, pay close attention to how they communicate, and don’t be afraid to consider multiple options before deciding.
4. What Will You Be Paying?
Finally, before moving forward with your chosen accountant, be sure that you understand how they bill for their services. Billing structures can differ widely. Some accountants bill by the hour, some charge flat fees for each service, and some employ a mix of the two.
Don’t forget to inquire about potential expenses that haven’t been covered yet. Even though it may seem like a strange question, the responses you receive can surprise you. It’s better to get information about any hidden fees now before you have committed to anything and are surprised by a hefty bill.
Before choosing an accountant for your business, be sure to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Also, make sure to consider whether you would make good business partners. Once you’ve made up your mind, get in touch with the chosen accountant and get the ball rolling.