When it comes to small businesses, the selection of accountant can be vital for success. Choosing an accountant is more than just choosing someone who will simply do your accounting! You need to find an accountant who understands your business and can offer you sound advice. Here are some of the best accountants in Bristol.
What questions should I ask? How much does it cost to use an accountant, and how can you find a trustworthy one?
With the amount of information available online today, it is not difficult to educate yourself in the basics of bookkeeping. You may be familiar with double entry bookkeeping from high school or college courses in business administration or accounting. Understanding double entry bookkeeping means that you have a basic idea of what it takes for your business records to flow accurately and well. It also helps you understand what financial statements are all about, as well as some of the terminology used therein. As such, your first step in choosing an accountant would be determining if they have any training in accounting and/ finance management. You could ask the accountant if they have a qualification in these fields or you can check their website to see what degrees and certificates they may have.
As an entrepreneur, choosing an accountant is a matter of give-and-take: by taking advantage of his knowledge and expertise, you would be giving more information about your business operations (taxes, expenses) that he needs to do his work well. If possible, try to meet with several accountants before deciding on one for your firm; this way, you’ll get a better idea of how knowledgeable each individual is as well as ascertain whether or not they are dependable and trustworthy enough for your business needs. Also keep in mind that some accountants charge per hour while others by the project.
The following are some important questions you should ask:
What is your area of specialization? In this day and age, accountants have taken on a wide range of specializations—depending on the type of business you have, one may be better suited for your needs than another. Some accountants specialize in small businesses while others focus their practice on those in the high-net-worth category; there are also those who do both. So make sure that the individual you choose could handle your specific needs. What training and degrees/certificates do you have regarding accounting and finance sure that he/she provides clear , concise answers to these questions. What experience do you have in accounting/auditing? If your business is young, the accountant will need to help you get it started on the right foot; if your firm already has several years under its belt, he/she should be able to guide you through your growth pains. Ask about their typical work schedule and whether or not they can take on more clients if needed. How computer literate are you? Finance management today requires dealing with numbers that computers generate easily; however, it helps for an accountant to know how to use spreadsheets and other financial programs that can aid him once numbers start pouring in. Can I see samples of your previous work? This would give you a clearer picture of what kind of service you can expect from your new accountant.
You may also want to consider the following: How much does it cost? How long have they been in business, and is that time dedicated to accounting work? What are their credentials? Are they members of professional associations, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or the British Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)? Who do they work for—individuals, businesses with just a handful of employees or those with hundreds? Depending on your business needs, any one of these guys could be perfect for you!
What to look out for when choosing an accountant? You need to know if their pricing structure is hourly-based or project-based. If it is the latter, you would want them to describe each project clearly in advance so that you know what kind of work they are planning on undertaking and how much you can expect to pay for the service. You also need to be absolutely certain about their areas of specialization, particularly if your firm is engaged in a specific industry or type of business activity.
How long have they been working in this field? An accountant’s degree or designation does not necessarily guarantee his/her competency; you only truly find out how knowledgeable an individual is when he works for you! So ask him about his past projects and get references from former clients if possible. Try to check out his website as well; what level of proficiency do his work samples show? A website is also a great tool for conducting background checks on an individual; you can see whether or not they have any legal issues or complaints against them.