So, here’s an old joke you’ve probably heard before… what's an accountant?
Answer: Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had; in a way you don't understand.
Jokes aside, your business accountant can be a great asset if you choose wisely. They will maintain your books, give you advice when needed, plan for your taxes, and ensure you meet all of your compliance deadlines. They can also save your business thousands of dollars, make your life easier, and be your trusted advisor throughout the entire life of your business (and beyond).
As no two accountants are alike, below are my tips for choosing the best accountant for your business:
1. Find an accountant that will help you from day one to get structured correctly, setup your systems, manage your expenses, and be compliant for tax purposes.
2. Make sure they are CPA (or CA) qualified. This is the top designation and members of this organisation have to work hard to become qualified and then stay qualified. These accountants adhere to rigorous ethical standards and are bound to act in the best interests of their clients. They’re also more likely to give you strategic advice for your business beyond the basics of bookkeeping, tax compliance and general financial statements.
3. Go with a small accounting firm. Many have the same skill sets as the large firms. Small firms are more agile and better equipped to work with small and medium businesses. You’ll also get more attention at a small firm.
4. Know who you will be dealing with in the accounting firm, and whether your work will be done in Australia. Many firms delegate client matters to less experienced junior staff or outsource work to groups in the Philippines or India. At a larger firm the person you speak to or meet initially, might not be the person handling your work and dealing with you on a day-to-day basis.
5. Not all accountants are business minded. Find an accountant that lives and breathes small and medium businesses and is well rounded in several industries including yours.
6. How do they charge and how much? Some accountants charge by the hour and others provide a fixed fee option so you know in advance what you will pay for. Like most things in life the most expensive option isn’t always the best, and the cheapest is also unlikely to provide the best outcomes for your business.
7. How will they communicate with you and how often? Will it be in person, on the phone, or online? Will that happen weekly, monthly, or once a year? This will depend on the amount of assistance you need and what your accountant is capable of.
Woodward & Co. is a boutique CPA firm with deep skills in helping business owners across a wide range of industries grow and succeed. We like to stay in regular contact with clients, and we provide fixed fee estimates so you know in advance how much you will pay. We also don’t charge for quick phone calls and emails, so there will be no surprises.
We would love to be the trusted advisor for your business. Get in contact today for a free no-obligation discussion regarding your business and how we can help.