So, you’ve started a business, and now you’re stuck. You’re facing one of the most common questions business owners ask when starting out. How do you hire an accountant?
Sure, you can ask your friends, but what if their business is in a different industry than yours? What if they don’t have a business and use their accountant only for personal taxes? You want to make sure you find an accountant who will understand you and your business goals.
By following these tips, you’ll have no trouble finding the accountant who’s right for you.
Hire an Accountant: Your Ultimate Guide
There are three things you should do before deciding to hire an accountant: research potential accountants, interview them, then determine how you feel about working with them long term.
The research part is fairly straightforward, and you can do this on Google. Search for virtual accountants, accountants in your industry, or accountants in your area and make a list of three professionals that look promising based on the information from their websites.
Also known as the complimentary consult, this is your opportunity to interview the accountant. To ace your interview, you’ll want to head into it prepared. Think about the kinds of questions you want to ask and write them down.
Here are a few things to consider when thinking of your questions:
What are your business goals?
This is important, because you want an accountant who can help you reach your goals. If you know what your goals are, you’ll know what you need help with. This allows you to ask an accountant the right questions in order to determine if that is something they can help with.
How do you prefer to work with an advisor?
Is it important that your accountant has time to talk or email with you? Are you just as comfortable talking with an associate? Are you comfortable with an accountant who is completely virtual?
You’ll want to think about these questions before meeting with an accountant so you can determine what kind of working relationship you prefer.
Is the accountant familiar with your industry?
Working with an accountant who is familiar with your industry has its appeal if there are special tax credits or other financial benefits available in your industry but not elsewhere. That being said, an accountant with current tax knowledge will also know where to look for these kinds of things.
To find out if an accountant is familiar with your industry, just ask if they have other clients who do what you do? Accountants are used to these kinds of questions.
There’s a good chance you’ll find more than one accountant to interview, so how do you know which one is the right one to hire? Below are a few ways you can evaluate any prospective accountants you interview.
Do they listen and ask questions?
Listening and asking questions shows a person is interested in what you do. It’s important to have an accountant who is invested in your success.
Is their tax knowledge up to date?
You may be able to tell this from the accountant’s website, but there’s a good chance you will have to ask. It can feel a bit daunting to ask this, but with the rate at which tax laws change, it’s important to find out.
Do they use tools you’re familiar with or are they willing to train you?
If you’re comfortable with technology, this question is probably moot for you. It can be convenient to use the same software that your accounting office uses. For example, we use Xero in our office and it’s really easy to give clients access and show them different reports they can use for business insights.
Try not to let price affect your decision. Pricing in the accounting industry is fairly competitive. A good accountant will always be worth the price they charge. The money they save you in taxes will more than cover their bill to you.
Consider the questions above and the overall feeling you had during your complimentary consult. Your goal should be to cultivate a long term working relationship with this person, so if you don’t see that happening, then keep looking.
Click here to book a free consultation with Virtual Heights Accounting and see what we have to offer.