Looking for a New Accountant?

You’ve just ventured into a new business and you’re on the lookout for a new accountant but you’re unsure what you should be looking for.

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Remember to do your due Diligence!

Some of you may have never had an accountant before so uncertain of the questions you should be asking or signs you should be looking out for.

Whilst some of you may have some horror stories that you wish to get away from and you’re worried if your new accountant will be any better or if you’re likely to have the same issues and frustrations.

Well, there are a few things you can look out for from the outset. By no means does this guarantee a good accountant but it sure will help weed out some of bad ones…

If you’re recommended an accountant the likelihood is s/he is probably a good bet. As you’re relying on someone else’s existing experience with that accountant.

Try to make sure the recommendation is an existing client of the accountant and not a friend / family referral. I have seen accountants recommending their own practice on Facebook!

Advertising

If you’re advertising for an accountant, for example on social media, then you should look out for how the accounts/he has tried to attract your business. Generic messages or very short messages to give them a call for a chat are red flags.

Many accountants, like any other businesses, are looking for new clients to grow their business. Unfortunately, this means that many take the approach of contacting as many prospective clients as possible in a generic way and not actually take the time to understand the situation the client has already detailed out.

Look out for someone who has taken the time to write you a personalised response, it shows they have gone through the effort to read your request and write a personalised message for you despite knowing you may not materialise into a customer for that accountant but is a reflection of their approach towards their customers.

Initial Conversation

Many accountants will be on the ball to get an initial conversation with you, ultimately this is their selling pitch to win your business. So, make the most of this conversation.

Write a list of questions you want answers to and evaluate these answers afterwards.

Things to look out for are:

  • Has the accountant actually answered question or left it open ended
  • Was the explanation / answer clear to you or was a lot of technical jargon used to confuse you
  • If you had provided a clear outline of what is required did s/he provide a clear outline of the services you will need and the price for these services
  • Was the accountant pushy to appoint there and then or was s/he confident enough for you take it away to think it over

Follow-Up

You’ve had the initial conversation and you think it went well and felt like s/he is someone you can work with, and you are satisfied that the price was reasonable for the services you requested.

So, does this mean you appoint your accountant? I would suggest one last step before appointment.

I want you to contact your prospective accountant again, to call and/or email your accountant with questions / clarifications / just to have a chat.

Your accountant may not answer the phone and that’s ok. Afterall, they do have other clients they may be tending to….

What is important though is how long it takes him/her to get back to you. You don’t want someone who will take days to get back to you.

Generally, accountants prioritise new business over existing, so if it takes days to get back to you when they don’t have your business how long do you think it would take if they already had it…

To Conclude…

There may be many more factors you can look out for and consider when looking for a new accountant (e.g. Chartered qualifications, experience in your specific scenario/field if it is complicated), but if you want an accountant who you can rely on and is available for you when you need them look out for these little signs.

Happy hunting!