We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary at Turas Accountants, and as part of these celebrations we are running a series of blogs covering 10 tips. In this blog, we are going to discuss 10 questions you should ask an accountant before you decide to use their services for your business.
1) What are your qualifications and experience?
As with any industry, unfortunately, there are people out there claiming to be a qualified and experienced accountant when in fact they are not. You should be careful when selecting an accountant as a lot of online based companies don’t have the certifications and knowledge that they are claiming to have. You should always select an accountant that has proven experience with your type of business, e.g. size, industry and growth. Anybody in practice should have a practicing certificate. This will mean that they are regulated by an accredited body, that they have the correct insurances in place and that they are completing continued professional development to maintain their knowledge.
Qualifications to look for in a UK based accountant are:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- Chartered Institute of Taxation
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
- Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA)
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
2) What types of businesses do you work with?
You need to make sure that the accountant you are looking at using has experience with a business similar to yours. The factors to consider is the size of your business, the industry you work in, how many years the business has been running for, and if you have any future plans to grow or change the business in any way. You should make sure that the accountant has worked with businesses that are similar to yours.
3) What are your fees?
You should always make sure that you have a clear understanding of how the accountant charges for their services. Many companies have hidden charges that aren’t clear at first glance. Ask them to outline any charges that may occur, when the payment will be due and make sure you have these in writing for future reference. You don’t want to be caught out by a surprise bill!
4) How often will you communicate with me?
Communication frequency is a personal preference and this should be discussed prior to you taking up an accountant’s service. You should find out how often they communicate with clients, whether that be monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, etc, and whether you are happy with this. Some business owners prefer more or less communication, so make sure you use an accountant that is on the same page as you.
5) How will you keep my information confidential?
Accountants handle a lot of critical and private information for each of their clients, including everything to do with the income and outgoings. Your accountant needs to be trustworthy and have an exceptional confidentiality policy in place.
6) What are your tax planning services?
Tax planning is an essential part of accounting. As an accountant, our jobs are to make sure you are following all of the rules and regulations, but also taking advantage of any tax saving schemes that are running. You should ask your accountant if they are up to date with all of the latest regulations, their job is to save ensure you are as tax efficient as you can be!
7) What are your bookkeeping services?
Bookkeeping is what the majority of business owners are seeking help with on a month to month basis. Each accountant has various levels of bookkeeping services that they provide, so you should find out whether what they offer will suit you and your bookkeeping needs. Good bookkeeping is an essential part of running a business, so it’s important to get it right.
8) What are your financial statement preparation services?
Financial statement preparation has to be completed with an exceptional amount of precision and detail. Finding out what their service looks like, how it is ran throughout the year and what deadlines need to be adhered to is a great place to start.
9) What are your payroll services?
If you employ staff, or are looking to do so in the future, you should research the accountant’s payroll services. Find out whether the level of service they provide will be sufficient for you, and what the fees are.
10) What are your other services?
Many accountants offer various different services which makes them unique. The services may or may not be relevant to you depending on your business type, but look for accountants who specialise in an area that could be beneficial for you.
At Turas Accountants, we have 10 years’ experience in helping a wide range of businesses in the Telford and Shropshire area. If you are looking for a new accountant, we offer bespoke packages to give you the service you are needing.