Whether needing to sort out your estate when writing your will, starting a small business or completing your self-assessment tax return, choosing the right accountant can give you an enormous sense of relief.
Accounting experts can help share the burden of making sure your money and finances are all in order. The best accountants understand the importance of having sound finances and will work tirelessly to give you the best possible service that’s worth every penny.
Andy Evangelou from AKE accountancy a Chartered Certified accountancy firm in Hertfordshire says that all financial advice is subjective to individual situations, and recommends discussing your plans with a finance professional before putting them into effect to make sure they’re right for you.
“Having a business advisor who genuinely has your back and wants to help your business succeed is key to finding that success. But not all business advisors see their work that way,” says Andy. “If they don’t, that should set alarm bells ringing, and you should probably avoid them at all costs.”
So what should you look for when choosing the right accountant – whether you’re a small business or looking for someone to help with your personal finances and tax affairs.
Tips on how to choose an accountant
One of the most important things to consider when choosing an accountant is how qualified they are. Look out for accountants with recognised qualifications such as:
- ACA – stands for Associate Chartered Accountant. This is issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
- ACCA – accountants with these qualifications have qualified through the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
- CIMA – this stands for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is for accountants focusing on management accountancy.
Qualified accountants can specialise in different areas, such as audits and financial records. Accountants don’t have to be chartered to call themselves an accountant. However, chartered accountants who are officially certified can bring a wider range of knowledge and expertise they’ve gained through their qualifications.
If you have complex financial needs, then choosing an accountant who has your back is a must. There are many accountants out there who can provide expert advice with a smile, avoid using technical jargon, and stay in communication with you so you’re never left in the dark about the state of your finances.
Check how much an accountant charges before you sign up for their services. Accountants who are upfront about their costs can help you compare prices and overall costs. Get fees in writing, and ask questions if you’re not sure about any costs to avoid being handed an unexpected costly bill.
An accountant with a good reputation is important. Check reviews on review sites, such as Google Reviews, when choosing and sift through review comments to spot problems such as inaccurate fees or poor communication. Speak to friends and relatives to see if they recommend an accountant.
Services they offer
Consulting an accountant who specialises in inheritance tax won’t be useful if it’s advice on VAT you need. A number of accountancy firms will offer a wide range of services which can be useful as a one-stop shop for your accounting needs. Some accountants specialise, such as focusing on tax or inheritance and may be more suitable for more complex financial issues.
Check how close your accountant is, especially if face-to-face appointments and routine check-ins are a priority for you. While Zoom calls and online chats are useful, face-to-face meetings can mean a more consistent and clear line of communication.
Online vs In-person accountants
With the Covid-19 pandemic causing a lot of businesses to transition to operating online, the same may be the case for accountants. When deciding on which accountants to contact, consider whether they offer only one online/in-person service or a mixture of both. A hybrid approach can mean more flexibility, especially if you just want to ask them a quick question for advice.