Is it time to consider switching accountants? (It’s easier than you think!)
The 5 KEYS to Selecting the Right Accountant to Ensure Success for Your Business.
The right accountant doesn’t just file your taxes. The right accountant can save you money and help you expand your business. Finding an accountant that can also serve as a trusted financial advisor can mean increased revenues, better cash flow and greater success for your business. The wrong accountant can be costly. Mistakes in tax filings, lack of tax planning and inability to offer sound business advice can cost your business both time and money.
Welcome to Week 5 in our 5 week series highlighting the keys to consider when you are looking to select an accountant, and how to use your accountant effectively in your business. (Stay tuned for our BONUS KEY next week).
So far, we have covered KEY #1 – TRUSTED ADVISOR, KEY #2 – VALUABLE CONNECTIONS, KEY #3 – OPEN AVAILABILITY, and KEY #4 – TECH SAVVY.
This week we are covering how to find and interview an accountant that meets your specific needs.
KEY #5 - - Interview, Research and Inform. Don’t just employ these 3 key items during your selection period, but consistently evaluate your accountant to be sure that they are continuing to understand and meet your business goals.
Be a proactive client. Ask questions, request consultations, bring important business decisions to your accountant first, to understand their impact on your business from a tax and overall financial perspective. Once you have found the right accountant and a solution that works for your business, dedicate yourself to working on your business goals.
When researching where to find the right accountant, start with referrals from other business professionals including your financial planner, your attorney, your banker, and other businesses in your industry. You can check your referral list with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce. A referral is only step one in the process. Even if someone comes highly recommended, you still need to find the right fit for you and your business.
Step two is the interview. Create a list of the referred accountants and set up interviews. Be sure to ask for client references to check before you sit down with them. Price shouldn’t be the main reason for picking an accountant (although it will be a factor in deciding), so make sure that your questions are geared towards your needs and the matters that are most important to your business. Ask how the accountant can help your business grow. Find out what kind of tax planning the accountant will offer your business, and what benchmarks will they help you set. This is also a good time to determine how tech savvy the accountant is (for ease and efficiency as well as cutting down on costs.) Discuss your payroll and bookkeeping needs as well as your tax needs. Finally, assess what other overall services the accountant can refer to you to help you reach your business goals.
The interview process is the time to get your questions answered and is also a great way to determine if the personality of the firm fits with your business. Does the accountant answer your questions completely and do they make sure that you understand the answer? Is the accountant asking questions about your business and your industry? How comfortable do you feel in your communication with the accountant?
Step three is choosing your accountant. Once you have checked references and interviewed the accountants on your list, it is time to choose the one that feels like the best fit for your business. This is where the relationship begins. Make sure that you communicate your needs and expectations with the accountant of your choice. Be a proactive client and involve your accountant in your major business decisions. Ask your accountant for advice and referrals as you are working on your business goals.
Your accountant has the ability to significantly help boost your bottom line and should be involved in your business on a regular basis. The more involved your accountant can be in your business, the bigger value you will receive out of the relationship.
Join us next week for our BONUS KEY # 6 – Demand Excellence and Exercise Choice.