Choosing Your Accountant
An accountant might be great at what they do – but not the right fit for your business.
Here is a list of 10 questions to ask when choosing an accountant to ensure they can take your business to the next level and help you avoid costly mistake.
- Who does the accountant typically work with?
Knowing who the accountant generally work with indicates whether you will be a good fit and vice versa. Having this knowledge will inform you whether the accountant can provide you with value. Another good way to determine whether the accountant is a good fit for you is to have a look at client testimonials; this often touches base on why clients are satisfied with the services they have been provided with.
- How long has the practice been operating for?
Generally, the longer the practice’s operation, the more experience they have had with providing the services. This impacts efficiency and effectiveness of the value they offer you.
- What services does the accountant provide?
Ensure that their experience and skill set matches the service you are after.
Is the accountant only great at doing tax returns or can they offer expertise in estate planning, business planning and superfund management?
- What does the accountant specialise in?
Whether you are starting a business, need guidance with property investment or planning on purchasing a franchise ensure that your accountant has the expertise and knowledge to offer the best value to you as a customer.
- How does the accountant bill?
What is the basis on which fees are charged? Does the accountant charge hourly or for the value that they provide? Ensure that you and the accountant are both on the same page to avoid any surprises.
- What is the response time to queries?
How prompt will you hear from the accountant? Make sure you ask for a clear understanding of how quickly your account will return your call or email.
- How long does it take to complete work?
A common complaint that businesses often have with their accountants is the total time taken between the submission and execution of a job. Chat with your accountant and ask how long their average turnaround time is to identify how efficient they work.
- Is the accountant familiar with the latest technology and software?
Is the accounting firm familiar with cloud accounting software? Keeping up with the latest software sees that accountants are able to focus on automating their clients’ business.
Additionally, does your accountant work with technology such as Skype and Teamviewer to enhance web meetings and share concepts?
- How often does the accountant communicate to you each year?
It is vital that your accountant communicates with you on a frequent basis rather than once a year when tax season comes around. Whether the accountant is informing you about tax implication changes or providing you with tips on how to save tax through emails or blogs it is ideal that you stay informed and inspired.
- What are the accountant’s qualifications?
Make sure they have an accounting qualification and are a member of an accounting body.
Your accountant can only give you tax advice if they are a tax agent. They can only provide financial planning advice if they have an Australian Financial Services licence or are an authorised representative of such a licence.
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