Choosing an Accountant for Financial Management

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.

Posted in: General

Where Is The Best Place To Go For Financial Advice?

Financial advice is something that we can all benefit from. Even if we’re living comfortably and have little in the way of money worries, it can still be worth having someone that we can talk to who can advise us on savings, investments, or how to be more frugal in the way we live.

We can find financial advice in many places; the difficult thing is knowing which is best. Here are some examples of where you can find financial advice, and an overview of each ones’ merits.

Financial Websites

Financial websiteThese are great because they’re instantly accessible and give great advice. While there are some sites that are subscription only, most of them are open to everyone. Another benefit is that you can find financial advice in whatever sector you want.

Whether you’re concerned about your pension, want to know the best way to manage your credit cards to avoid paying hefty fees, or want to consider investments, information is available on every level.

If there’s a downside, it is that it can be difficult to establish which websites are genuinely trying to offer you an unbiased service, and which are the ones trying to coerce you into signing up for a particular financial product. Such sites often feature the opinion of the writer, too, meaning articles can be unbalanced or opinions clouded by personal experiences.

Your Bank

If you’ve been to your local banking branch recently, you probably noticed that everyone in there was rushed off his or her feet. However, if you’re able to make an appointment, an hour or so sitting down with someone in the bank is a great way to take control of your finances and come up with a solid plan for the future.

The downside here is obvious; the bank is going to try to sell you all of their products. Understandable enough, but you don’t necessarily want a whitewash if you’re planning for yours and your families’ future.

An Accountant

Depending on the complexity of your financial affairs, an appointment with an accountant to review things like your tax liabilities as well as monetary opportunities going forward. Friendly Accountants services include completing tax returns, while someone can also come and visit you in person if you need help and advice.

A Life Coach

This might seem like an unusual place to go for financial advice, but it is amazing how often you find the answers whenever you look away from the most obvious solutions.

A life coach isn’t going to tell you how to pay less tax or play the investment markets like a hotshot genius, but they will be able to help you clear your mind and think clearly. An hour with an experienced, motivational coach will show you that you had the answers within you all the time.

Friends & Family

We all know someone who doesn’t earn what we’d consider a fortune, but still manages to live a good life and is never worried about money. Talk to them. Simply asking, “How come you always have money for anything?” will probably see you walk away with some tips and ideas to take into your own life.

Whether you get it in the obvious places or not, sound financial advice can change your life. Even if your finances are in good shape, having some extra ideas won’t do you any harm at all.

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John is a financial consultant who regularly works with individuals looking to brighten their financial outlook for the long term. In his spare time, John loves playing cricket and reading classic novels and poetry.

Posted in: General

Quantitative Easing: Is The Fed Ready To Ease Up?

Last month, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke set the markets off after talking about limiting quantitative easing. Fascinating isn’t it? Especially since many Americans aren’t sure exactly what Ben Bernanke does and who on earth knows what quantitative easing is? No need to worry, we’re here to help. It turns out that Mr. Bernanke and actions taken by the Federal Reserve have more of a significant impact on your life than you might think. We’ll break it down so that you understand exactly this announcement could affect the United States economy.

Ben Bernanke: As the Federal Reserve Chairman, Bernanke is in charge of the central banking system of the United States and is the executive officer of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Fed is considered an independent central bank because they do not require presidential or executive branch approval. By law, Bernanke must report to Congress twice a year on the Fed’s activities and he testifies on various other financial issues. Bernanke also meets periodically with the secretary of the Treasury and the president of the United States. Essentially, Bernanke is in charge of the banking system in America but has to answer to the big wigs.

Quantitative Easing: This one is a bit more difficult to explain, are you ready? Depending on the current state of the United States economy, the Fed will interact in various ways in order to get the economy moving. In this case, the Fed has seen enough of an improvement in the economy that they want to cut back on how much they are interfering. They will slowly reduce the $85 billion they have been spending per month in bond buying. This part of quantitative easing affects how much money is circulating in the American economy.

Why Did the Markets React? Stocks and treasuries took a dive at the thought of a bond buying slowdown. Stock market investors got nervous. They feared that a slow down of the Fed’s intervention would mean a slow down in economic growth. Not wanting to be caught in the middle of that, they took action.

Now What? Bernanke only announced potential moves by the Fed. He did not announce official policy change. He promised that the actual direction of the economy would be what drove the actual action of the Fed. It is interesting to note that since the stock market was affected by the announcement of potential action by the Fed, it means that much of the stock market is being driven by speculation, which is nothing new.

What does it All Mean? It means that if the Fed does slow down its quantitative easing, the best economic minds in the U.S. think that our economy is far enough down the road to recovery that they don’t need to interfere anymore. If they don’t end up slowing down their quantitative easing it means that they think we aren’t in the clear yet and that it could be some time before America has a strong and independent economy.

Kamiel Moore is a blogger for HomeVestors, America’s #1 homebuyer. She loves cupcake shops, reality television, and using her passport when she goes on vacation.

Posted in: Economy