Let’s face it. Owning or operating an SME (small to medium sized business) is hard work. However, while you can’t always manage your accounts yourself you can ensure that you choose the best accountant for the job. Here is how –
Is it time?
If yours is like most small businesses, you will hardly have the capital to hire a full time staff for bookkeeping. Therefore hiring an external accountant on a consulting basis is a good first step. Why? For one, their services will cost you less than the salary of a full time employee. Secondly, such firms also have a higher level of expertise to draw from.
Do you Connect?
Time is money and your business cannot afford an accountant who either does not receive your calls or calls you back at all. You need to know whether you will work well together especially since you will be sharing intimate financial details with them. Ask questions like whether the firm’s accountants meet their clients in person or over the phone. An accountant that only spouts tax laws is useless unless he tells you what you need to know when you need to know it.
You cannot afford to hire an accountant who doesn’t know what he is doing. After all, he will have access to your company’s books and other info.
Your business finances are nothing to scoff about. You need to learn about issues before they become too big to handle. Therefore an accountant who is proactive and consistent in meetings deadlines will be a valuable asset for your business.
Also make sure that the accountant you choose has knowledge about your specific industry. For example, inventory does not exist in banking and an accountant who only specializes in handling retail inventories will hardly have the experience that is necessary to navigate complex banking systems.
Analyze the Big Picture
Analyze your business objectives or needs before you hire a professional accountant. Is the firm qualified enough to handle all of them? Are they experienced in handling unforeseen issues?
Can you Trust them?
This goes without saying. You are putting your money in their hands and the last thing you need is for your competitors getting their hands on your financial records. Make sure that you check up on your chosen accountant’s credentials. Call up business owners who have hired their services before. Remember, not all accounting firms are qualified even if they market themselves as so. Qualified services provide their personnel the necessary training they need to retain customers on a long term basis.
Word of mouth also counts for a lot. Talk to your business associates or friends. Do the accountants they hire contact them on a regular basis or only during tax time? Of course, your ultimate goal should be to value what your chosen accounting firm can bring to the relationship. If their correspondents or customer representatives do not even bother to return your calls, its best that you keep looking.