5 Tips for Choosing a Great Accountant

Image by epSos.de
Image by epSos.de

Tax time is coming up and while many of us use small business tax software and our own brains to figure it all out, you might have hit the point in your business where you’ve decided it’s time to hire a pro to handle your numbers.

Finding the right accountant is just as challenging as hiring the right in-house employee. You need to trust them with some of your most treasured data and you want to feel comfortable doing so.

Here are 5 tips for making sure you are happy with the accountant you choose:

1.    Ask for Referrals

Just like you would ask a friend about their Physiotherapist, Doctor or even Hairdresser, ask business people you trust (and who have good financial records) about who they use to manage their numbers. Consider talking to people in your industry and start generating a list of accountants with great reputations.

2.    Make Contact

Once you have a healthy list of candidates (at least five), call them up and ask questions. Find out their experience in your industry, educational background, and the size of their operation. Ask them to forward information about their billing and fees, so you’re not blindsided.

3.    Pick Your Top 3

Who did you get the best vibe from? Who answered your questions best and sent information quickly? Who is familiar with your business model and fits into your budget? It’s time to narrow down the selection and choose your faves.

4.    Follow-up Interviews

Check back in with your top three and find out a few more details. Will they be dealing with you directly or will your account be handled by another member of the firm? Will they provide you with business advice on things like your ownership structure or help you analyze your financial statements? Will they be able to grow with you as your business takes off? Clarify anything you have questions about.

5.    Final Decision

Once you have all the answers you need, it’s time to make a choice. Consider who had the best answers, worked within your budget, fit your expectations and, most of all, made you feel most comfortable.

Your accountant should be more than someone you only see once a year at tax time. They should be someone you feel comfortable consulting with and discussing the state of your business finances. You want to make sure that your accountant helps you make smart and informed decisions for your business.

Do you have an accountant for your business? How did you make the choice? Tell us in the comments!

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