Finding the Right Accountant for Your BusinessBrian Jang ON August 27, 2018
So, you have reached a point with your business where you have grown enough that you now need to hire an accountant, but you don’t know what you should be looking for?
An accountant can make your life much easier by allowing you to shift your attention away from accounting and toward other aspects of your business, but you want to be sure that you are hiring the right person for the job. If you have never hired an accountant before, however, how can you be sure that you are making the best possible decision?
Questions to Ask
There are certain questions that you may want to ask in order to have a better understanding of a potential accountant’s qualifications, such as:
- How long have they been working as an accountant? Ideally, they should possess several years’ worth of experience.
- Do they have an area of expertise? Someone with specific knowledge of your industry could be a tremendous asset
- Will They be Available When Needed? They should be able to commit to responding to your needs within a reasonable amount of time, either in person, or by having a colleague respond.
- Does location matter to you? Today, many companies collaborate online. Using Could Accounting, you and your accountant can share data in real time, no matter the distance between you. Is this acceptable to you, or do you prefer them to be located near you?
- What services do they offer? Are they able to offer services that you may not need right now, but might need in the future? They should be ready and able to help you grow, as well as meet your changing needs.
There are also other ways in which you might be able to determine whether you are considering hiring the right person, which simply require a bit of online research. For example, you may make use of your social networks to either find a potential accountant, or to seek information on one of your candidates.
Some ways to do this include:
- Review their connections. Use LinkedIn or another online network to see if the candidate has a strong network of other professionals.
- See what their clients say. Do they have any recommendations from clients? What do those clients have to say about them?
- Review their experience. You may be able to find how long they have been in business, and what sort of work they were doing previously.
- Learn about their qualifications. Are they a bookkeeper? A financial advisor? Something else?
- How do they discuss their work online? Do they seem happy and enthusiastic about what they do, or do they express a dislike of their job?
Dig a Little Deeper
You should consider multiple candidates before making a final decision. Having a larger pool of candidates means that you will have more options and increase the likelihood of finding a suitable match.
A series of interviews with potential hires will allow you to determine precisely what you are looking for and even may help you to better define what you need in an accountant. It will also give you a better feel for the person before you. This can be important because you need to trust your instincts about whom you might hire. After all, this is a person that will be taking an important role in your company and helping it to grow.
That said, while instinct is a good thing, it is also advisable to do a background check. Talk to some of the prospect’s clients. If the accountant is genuine, the will most likely be happy to give you a number of contacts for references.
These references will be able to give you insight into how the accountant works and give you insight into their relationship with clients.
Some Final Concerns
Accountants can handle all of the accounting and bookkeeping for your business, but it may be helpful to divide the work somewhat. For example, you may want to handle the entry of basic accounts data in-house, before handing it over to the accountant. This not only helps to keep you involved, but it also allows the accountant to focus their effort on the more involved tasks such as filling out tax return forms, and handling bank account reconciliation.
You may also wish to ask what software they are using, as they may have their own preferred software that differs from your own, which could potentially cause data sharing issues.
Finding a suitable accountant may seem somewhat daunting, as this individual will become an important part of your company. A good accountant will help your company grow. You will need someone whom you can trust, and who possesses the necessary experience to help you out whenever you need them.
Take your time and do your research, because a good accountant will be more than just someone who works for you—they will be a partner in the development of your business.