What to look for in an accountant (2/2)

Your money mate

The second part (read part 1) of our accountant-hunt article focuses on defining ‘good’ – and tracking it down…

So what does good look like?

Well it’s horses for courses to an extent. Before you go scouting out the man/woman for the job, have a think about what you want from an accountant, how involved you want to be in your finances day to day (and how involved you want them to be in your business day to day) – essentially what level of service you need from them.

Consider whether you’d prefer to speak face to face, or if communicating over the phone will do. And think about what you can afford – though bear in mind a good accountant can save you as much money in tax (if not more) than they charge annually.

Dream on

If you’re struggling to define what it is you need, then lie back. Close your eyes. Concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing. Listen to the whale music. And let your mind imagine that…

Your accountant is like a mate. Let’s call your accountant Dan. Dan has been an accountant for years but doesn’t go on about tax in the pub. When you met Dan, he made an effort to get to know ‘you the person’, not just ‘you the business’ – and wanted to understand your personal circumstances and your aims and motivations. You feel you can ask Dan anything, no matter how silly, trivial or far-flung it might seem. Dan drops you recommendations that will save you money. He explains them and helps you implement them. You trust Dan. You like Dan.

And you’re back in the room.

It’s all possible.

So how do you find a good 'un?

There are some pretty general steps you can take when looking for the right accountant:

  • Ask people you know – and ideally people in the same industry as you
  • Do a bit of research – are there accountants local to you? Who are their existing clients? How big are they? What’s their website like?
  • Check their accreditations. (Just because your mate Dave is dead quick at adding up doesn’t mean he’s the man for the job.)
  • Speak to a few that you think might suit. Meet them. Prepare some questions – ask how they’ve helped businesses like yours in the past, for example. See if you get on

Again, the right accountant for you might not be the right one for your neighbour. But if we were picking, we’d be looking for someone who seemed open and honest, approachable, willing to make time for you in his/her schedule, keen to know more about you. And possibly called Dan.