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Factors to consider when choosing your accountant

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by Startacus Admin

Investing in the services of an accountant can yield considerable benefits, particularly for those who aren’t conversant in monetary matters. But not all accountants are created equal. Before making a hiring decision, you’ll want to devote some effort to determining which is best for you. Let's run through some of the criteria by which you might judge a potential appointment.

How much do they charge?

Is the cost of your accountant justified by the benefits they’ll confer? An accountant is a skilled professional, and the chances are they'll be able to do their job better than you could. But the rate they charge may not be proportionate to the benefits.

Fortunately, this is a calculation that can be made quite easily by simply logging the amount of time you devote to your accounts, and extrapolating.

Are they professional?

Professionalism is often a reliable heuristic, via which we can make an educated guess at how competent an accountant is. If they are discourteous and dress sloppily, then it stands to reason that they’ll neglect other areas of their professional life.

Also of importance is the extent to which you get on with your accountant personally. You will need to feel comfortable asking them tricky questions, and feel confidence in the answers they give you. If they try to intimidate you into buying services that you don't need, then you should be willing to walk away.

What sort of accountant are they?

Certain accountants specialise in different areas. In many cases, the niche of a particular accountant might not be appropriate for your business. Look for someone with experience in dealing with a business of your size and shape. Freelance electricians are likely to need a different sort of support than might be required by a multinational conglomerate.

Are They Sufficiently Qualified?

To practice as an accountant in the UK requires a certain level of training. This starts with a foundational qualification, AAT. It then goes to ACA, ACCA, and CIMA, in that order. Your appointment should be able to demonstrate their credentials upon request. If they are hesitant to do this, then this should be taken as a red flag.

Can I sue my Accountant?

Where accountants fail to perform their duties, they leave themselves vulnerable to claims of professional negligence. These claims are normally conducted on a no win no fee basis, where the legal practitioner assumes the risk of a failed claim. Legal trouble can create stress, and consume time – so it’s better to do your due diligence in the first place, and establish that your choice of hire is the right one, rather than taking legal action further along the line.

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Published on: 27th July 2020

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