Choosing an accountant for your small business can be a difficult decision. Especially if you’re switching over and have been with the same provider for a long period, or this is the first time you’ve ever had to engage the services of an accountant.
Of course, you may think we would say this, but your choice of accountant can have a direct impact on the success of your business. You want to ensure your business’s financial future is secure through the support of the accountant you wish to partner with, and often that means building a bond between accountant and client so that business is understood. We’re believers that it isn’t just about selecting a great accountant, it’s selecting the right accountant for your business.
Here are a few factors to consider and help you to determine which accountancy practice is right for you.
Cost is going to vary depending on the company and the services that you require. Beware ‘one size fits all’ approaches. Your accountant should be upfront about their costs, but the services provided and associated costs should also be tailored and specific to your needs. It is essential for the health of the partnership that you both feel as though you are receiving value from the relationship.
It goes without saying when looking at costs, that it is essential you select an accountant with pricing you can afford. Whilst the cheapest option is often not the best option, you need to make sure that the cost of your accountant is relative to the value being provided, as well as the size and financial capabilities of your business.
It’s important to remember that as your business grows and so does the financial needs of your business, that costs may too increase. As you hire more staff, become VAT registered etc. the costs of your services will likely increase.
You can read about how we price here.
As previously mentioned, there must be alignment and a great relationship between you, your chosen accountant and your business. It’s important that you both have similar ideas around how to operate, that you share some common values and that your accountant is best placed to support your goals and ambitions.
We, for example, selectively work with businesses that are on a growth journey and are hungry to achieve more. It means we can grow alongside each other, share advice and experiences, and are best placed to support like-minded business owners. We’ve incorporated this ethos into the services we provide, with our quarterly growth reviews being incredibly popular with our small to medium sized business clients. One of our clients, Invoke Media in Preston, has even attributed these quarterly reviews to a revenue increase of 307%!
Most accountants receive their clients through recommendation or referral, however, it is important to note that what is right for one business may not be right for another. It’s all about having the right fit to work together. However, that doesn’t mean what others have to say isn’t important…
Check out the reviews and testimonials left by other businesses. There will undoubtedly be a few negative ones if things haven’t gone well between the accountant and client in the past, but be sure to take these in context. Look for recurring themes and words in the reviews left to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your prospective accountant.
If you need further validation, why not contact the accountant and see if they are willing to provide you with a reference of a similar business to your own. Ask them as many questions as possible about the service they’ve received and make sure you drill down on any strengths and weaknesses.
It’s important to note that just as with people, every business has its weaknesses as well as strengths, you’re likely to only see the strengths advertised on their website and social media! Understand that this is natural and present in every business (including your own), just try to make sure that their strengths make up for your weaknesses and visa versa. Once again, it is all about alignment.
This is a highly important factor to consider. You need to consider whether you want to partner with a local accountant or whether you’re willing to compromise to get the right service for your business. You’ll often find that local accountancy services are more personal, meaning it may be easier to achieve that alignment previously mentioned. They’re also more accountable (the clue is in the name!) as you can easily visit their office and have a face-to-face should you need to. You’ll often find that larger, perhaps city-based accountancy firms tend to lose that personalisation because their client base is so large, but that they also have larger resources and financial security.
However, if location isn’t important to you make sure you choose an accountant who’s 100% cloud-based, like us!
Last but by no means least, you need to ensure that you’re going to be able to trust your prospective accountant. You are potentially going to be putting your business in their hands, trusting them to give you the right advice and make you aware of issues or strategies that could make or break your business. You NEED to trust that they know what they are doing and, more importantly, that they have your business’s best interests at heart. If there’s no trust, there’s no relationship.
Arrange a face-to-face or Zoom call to get a feel for them. Ideally, you should be speaking to the director of the accountancy practice, but if not, you want to be speaking with a member of the senior management team as a minimum. If they aren’t available at this stage when they’re trying to win your custom, we suggest that they aren’t going to be available when you need them most…move on.
There are many more factors to consider when deciding on which accountant to partner with. You may have noticed we’ve used that work a lot (partner), because that is exactly how we see it. There is a mutual exchange of value between your two businesses. You are both growing alongside each other and supporting each other through the turbulent world of business. There should be a level of mutual respect and understanding as a bare minimum and if that is ever lost, it’s time to move on in our opinion. If you feel like the partnership isn’t working out for your business, don’t be afraid to look somewhere else, your business’s survival may depend on it.
We operate with full transparency and are selective in the clients we work with. We don’t work with people that we don’t feel we can add value to, or feel that they can’t add value to us. We’d be more than happy to have an open and honest conversation with you to see if our two businesses would be a great fit. Why don’t you get in touch now? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a call with our director Michael.