How to choose the best accountant for your needs

Searching for the right accountant

Choosing an Accountant to work with represents one of the most important decisions you will face.

Putting your finances in the hands of someone you trust is essential for providing peace of mind – the right choice could lead to greater levels of success for your business whereas the wrong choice could well see you lose money.

With so many accountants to choose from, – ranging from independent freelancers, through to large firms with many full-time staff and third party specialists – how you approach the process of searching for the best accountant for your needs is vital.

Choosing the right accountant for personal needs

Once you’ve decided that the time is right to invest in the services of a professional accountant, it pays to step back, before going headfirst into your search, to ask yourself a few questions. Every individual – and every business – is different, so the process you employ to find the right accountant will be defined by your own specific requirements.

For example, it is pertinent for you to ask yourself key questions such as:

  • Do I want my accountant to be located nearby?
  • Do I want my accountant to work full-time hours?
  • How much am I willing to spend on an accountant?
  • Do I need to invest in more software licences for use by my accountant?
  • What are the key aims I hope to achieve by working with an accountant?

 

Your answers to questions such as these will provide the basic framework from which to begin your search for a suitable candidate or accountancy firm. You may, for example, be happy to take advantage of remote working and for your accountant to have no need to come to your office; you may only require a few hours’ work each month; and your accountant may already have all the required software and licences to begin working almost immediately.

Such factors will play an essential role in how you continue to pursue the recruitment of an accountant for your organisation and will also have an impact on the level of money you will need to pay for their services.

How to select the best Accountant for your business

In addition to the questions that you yourself need to answer, you will need to define clear criteria that you wish potential candidates to fulfil. After all, the right person for the role will be able to help your business save money and maximise its earnings, so establishing a clear set of requirements represents the best means of identifying the most suitable candidate to work with your organisation.

  1. What qualifications do they have? As an industry, accountancy is regulated by a number of official bodies that demand compliance in order to allow a member to practice. The minimum level of education required to ensure competency is often the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) As a highly respected and internationally recognised qualification, the AAT demonstrates that candidates have the necessary skills to manage cash flows, budgets, and general finances for your business. Of course, Accountants with more specialised and advanced qualifications are also available, but using the AAT as a starting point for your search will often prove effective. It is important to check that any AAT qualified accountants offering their services to the public (as opposed to working for an employer) also have a practising certificate however, as this is required in addition to the qualification itself.
  2. Can they demonstrate past successes? As a business owner, you’ll likely be looking to grow and develop your organisation and to achieve greater levels of success. When seeking accountancy candidates, look to those who have a pedigree of improving performance at past businesses they’ve worked with and who can showcase how their work was instrumental in delivering success.
  3. Look for recommendations. There’s no harm in taking the time to make enquiries to determine whether or not a particular accountant has the nous and expertise to deliver on your requirements. From simply looking at professional recommendations on such platforms as LinkedIn, to contacting third parties directly for a discussion about potential recruits, taking the time to research past working relationships will prove invaluable.
  4. Ask plenty of questions. Once you’ve determined what you want to get out of working with an accountant, make sure you ask suitable questions to shortlisted candidates that help you identify whether the relationship that will be forged is conducive to your goals. It’s important that you’re able to trust your accountant fully, so selecting  someone with whom you can establish a good rapport will serve you and your business well.

Should I choose a Chartered Accountant?

In any occupation, experience is key. In the world of accountancy, in particular – with its ever-changing regulations and the need to stay abreast of industry developments – there are cases where a higher level of competency and practical know-how are important. The starting point for finding a suitable accountancy candidate, as identified above, is the qualifications they possess.

One of the simplest ways to ensure that you’re working with an accountant who has the required experience and knowledge is to limit your search to Chartered Accountants only. These highly qualified and experienced professionals are fully regulated by professional bodies of the highest standards and will often be able to demonstrate experience in delivering success to a diverse range of clients.

If simple technical accountancy work is all that is required,  a person who isn’t aCertified or Chartered Accountant may be all that you need. However, if your goal is to grow your business and succeed on a greater scale, choosing a fully qualified Chartered Accountant to work with is a must.

Find out more with THP Chartered Accountants

At THP Chartered Accountants, we aim to provide organisations with expert and friendly accountancy services tailored to their precise needs. From our offices in Cheam, Chelmsford, London City, Saffron Walden, and Wanstead, we help support businesses with an array of professional services.

Contact us today by calling free on 0800 6520 025 and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs, whether you’re seeking day-to-day financial services, information on Inheritance Tax planning, wealth management or more.

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