10 Things To Look For In A Business Accountant
Finding the right accountant for your business can be overwhelming. You need to find a partner you can trust; someone who has experience with the challenges your business faces every day. Your new accountant should be more than a tax preparer, they should be a resource to find ways to improve your company's financial health.
So how do you find the perfect accountant for your small business? Asking these 10 questions will help you identify if the accountant your speaking with is the right fit for your company.
What are your fees and how are they structured?
We recommend asking this question upfront. It’s important to know if this accountant fits in the budget before you fall in love with their offerings. Understanding their fee structure and total costs will help you determine whether you should continue the conversation.
What services do you offer?
There are many types of accountants. Some offer the basics, while others offer a full suite of services for any financial situation. If you have specific concerns, like can this person represent you if you are audited, it’s important to find the answers before beginning a contract.
Who will I be working with?
If the accountant you are interviewing isn’t a solo-practitioner it’s important to know who you will be working with and ensure you’re comfortable with them.
What licenses do you have? Does everyone on your team have those?
There are a slew of accounting certifications available, all requiring varying degrees of formal education and continuing education credits. To see the top certifications and their requirements visit (https://www.ais-cpa.com/best-accounting-certifications/). A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is at the top of their field, having attended a 4-year college program and having passed the rigorous CPA Exam.
Do you have experience with my type of business/industry?
Each business is different and comes with its own unique set of challenges. If your new accountant has experience in your industry it can make overcoming those challenges easier. Ask for specific examples of businesses they’ve worked with within your industry or with a similar business structure. If possible, ask for references from these clients.
What common problems have you solved for other clients in my industry?
Asking your new accountant to dive deep and reveal how they have helped other clients in your space will reveal a lot. Their answer will tell you not only how they’ve handled a specific problem you may face, but also how much proprietary information they may share about their clients. A great answer to this question would provide you enough detail to know they can handle the problem without giving away who their client is.
How can you help improve the financial health of my company?
As a business owner you are constantly trying to improve your bottom line. Finding an accountant who is invested in helping you improve the financial health of your company and who is capable of identifying ways to reinvest in growth should be your goal.
How often should we meet?
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the frequency your new accountant anticipates meeting. If you prefer a quarterly meeting but they don’t see a need, you may want to look for a new candidate.
Do you come to us or should we plan to come to you?
It may be geographically inconvenient for you to visit your accountants office. If you’re running a small business, you may not have time to leave the office to meet. These factors are an important reason why we recommend discussing meeting location and times.
How quickly do you respond to voicemail/email?
Communication is the key to success in any relationship. You can set your new accounting relationship up for failure if you don’t have a clear understanding of the ways in which your accountant will communicate and the time you can expect a response.
If you’re ready to find a new accountant for your small business, the Stampone & Associates team may be the right fit. Schedule your free consultation to determine if our team is right for you.