Top 10 Tips for Choosing an Accountant and Tax Advisers

Of all the advisers you are likely to encounter when running a small business, a good accountant is perhaps the most valuable one to have. If your accounts are in order and you are up-to-date with payments, you are far likely to be more able to concentrate on building the business. There is nothing more stressful than feeling behind or not in a position of trust with your accountant, so here are some basic tips on choosing an accountant.

Investigate, and if possible, choose an accountant and tax advisers before you start your business.
Make sure your accountant is fully qualified, for example as a certified or chartered accountant. Most likely, these qualifications will be displayed on any promotional material or the company's website, otherwise make sure you ask.
It is essential that your accountant works with small business clients. If your business generates a large number of transactions (for example, an online shopping service), make sure the accountant has experience with dealing with companies in your sector if possible.
How much does the accountant charge? Is there a fixed annual or monthly fee to complete all business tax requirements, or do hourly fees apply? Compare the fees of several firms.
When you first meet a prospective accountant, you will know soon enough if you see eye-to-eye. It is important to develop a good relationship and know that your finances are being handled by someone you trust. You should contact at least 3 accountants and find out which one best meets your requirements.
What other services does the accountant provide - can they complete your self assessment returns, do they provide business advice or further information to help grown your business.
As a small business, we find that the best accountants are also likely to be smaller in size. They will understand what it's like running a small operation and will have the resources and time you require to fun your finances properly.
Ask to speak to existing clients before signing up. A decent accountancy firm should be happy to arrange this.
Make sure your accountant keeps in touch with your business - not just at year end! If you feel your current accountant no longer meets your requirements for whatever reason, get a new one!
If at some stage you decide to sell your business, you will need a good accountant more than ever to minimise any tax liabilities payable on the sale.
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