There are few relationships in life as critical as the one you have with your accountant. In fact, finding the right accountant can be a treacherous dating game in itself.
It’s important to learn as much as you can about your prospective accountant to ensure you’re compatible. As well as asking the right questions you need to ensure whoever you work with shares your goals, want (metaphorical) children one day? Make sure they do to, or it’s likely to lead to an awkward situation. Your accountant should know what you want to achieve in your business, and most importantly, they should agree that it is the right step to take in order to move your business forward so that they can support you.
You should also remember that it takes two. Like all relationships, you need to make sure that you’re holding up your end of the bargain too. A relationship that you aren’t invested in, won’t be a happy one.
Once you think you know what you’re looking for from your accoutant it’s important to get a handle on the specifics. Here are few handy questions to ask when you find yourself searching for you significant accountant…
Who is going to be my named point of contact here?
Often partners/managers have the introductory meetings then the work is allocated behind the scenes to a pool of staff. We would recommend that you have a named point of contact or contacts who you can build a relationship with and who will build up knowledge about your business.
How will you get in contact with me? – By letter? By email or phone?
Give your preferred method of communication and ask that this is followed.
Are you available for appointments outside of standard office hours?
Your accountant shouldn’t expect you to close your shop or lose out on fees just to hold a meeting and should offer early morning, evening or weekend appointments for you. Best to check as not all do, and some charge a premium for it.
How much will this cost?
Many firms still refer to fees as “time necessarily spent on your affairs” but all should be able to provide you with an indicative quote for the services you are requesting.
How will I be billed?
While costs can be transparent, what triggers the bill often isn’t. Is it quarterly on account or when a piece of work is completed or when accounts are submitted? Best to get clarity so you are not left in any doubt.
Would you like to come and see my business?
A great way of testing if the accountant is genuinely interested in you, your business and the journey you are embarking on. If they say no, you are likely being viewed as a commodity and not a long term relationship.
Think we could be the one? Want to find out? We like it when you make the first move, but in return we’ll get the coffee. Here’s our number….call us sometime: 01302 752700