Choosing the right accountant: Some advice from small business owners

Keeping your finances in order is absolutely crucial for the health of a business say many small business owners. Often small businesses either have a skeletal in-house workforce to take care of bookkeeping and financial tasks or outsource their bookkeeping and accounting needs. Either way, it is important that the accountant is chosen after much due diligence.

Here is some good-natured advice from small business owners that can help you choose the right accountant:

  • Use referrals: In our day-to-day lives, we base many important decisions like finding a plumber, a doctor, a good store etc. on referrals from friends, colleagues and families. The same prudence must be applied when one wishes to choose an accountant. Good word of mouth from other small business owners, family and friends can point you to someone that can be the perfect fit for your business. Always check the accountant you hire for credentials and reputation.
  • Location: Would you prefer your accountant to be based in the same city and close to your business location? Is it important for you to have your accountant physically accessible on a routine basis? If so, then only local accountants can be hired by you. If not, you can choose any good accountant even one based at a remote location that can be available when needed via email, messenger or chat.
  • Expertise: The accountant you choose must be well versed with tax laws and also tuned into the nuances of your business and its specific needs. An experienced and competent accountant is normally preferred by small business owners.
  • Services: Do you require an accountant who offers bookkeeping services along with payroll, tax advice, tax planning and tax return or in other words a comprehensive service package? If not, you can hire an accountant only for tax planning and returns and have bookkeeping services outsourced or done in-house. Tax planning and returns are the most important services offered by accountants. Ensure that you find an accountant who understands the needs of your business, can guide you ably and can help you plan financially in an organized manner to help save you taxes.
  • Integrity: It is important that your accountant have impeccable integrity. Small business owners entrust their confidential financial information to their accountants. Thus, it is important for your accountant to be trustworthy and reliable.
  • Price: Hourly rates for an accountant can start from a few dollars per hours to hundreds of dollars depending upon the expertise, experience and location. Don’t base your choice solely on cost as this decision could backfire. You need an accountant that is knowledgeable and can offer you valuable consulting advice. You certainly don’t need a novice who essentially just handles basic bookkeeping tasks. Choose wisely.

As tax laws get more complex every year, it is imperative to choose an accountant prudently especially for small business owners.

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