How to find the right accountant for your small business

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Accountants can help you in a number of ways including with your taxes, investments and bookkeeping records. Finding and hiring the right accountant is an important process for all small businesses. It is vital to find someone that you can trust, who understands your business, and who will ultimately help your business grow. A bad one will end up wasting your time and possibility costing you more of your hard earned dollars.

With so many to choose from you may be tempted to pick the first one you come across or go with a recommendation from a friend. Like picking a plumber or mechanic, when it comes to selecting your accountant, don’t leave it to chance. Here we will go through the questions that you should ask and factors to consider so that you can make an informed decision.

You’ll need to think about what is important to your business including where you accountant is located, what services you’ll need from them and the type of bookkeeping and accounting software that you’ll both use.

How to find an accountant

Location is important to consider when looking for a qualified accountant. You can find accountants in your area by searching online directories – including searching the lists from the:

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia

Institute of Public Accountants

Certified Practicing Accountant of Australia

Questions to ask

Once you’ve compiled a shortlist of accountants, get in touch with and ask them about these four things:

#1. Experience and specialisation

Have they got experience dealing with a small business like yours? What kind of services do they offer and do they offer specialised services? How are you going to make your money work for you? Why should you hire them? Are they savvy with cloud-based software?

#2. Communication

Will they respond promptly to your phone calls, faxes and emails? Are they able to speak to you in plain language, rather than financial jargon? How long does it usually take for them to deliver their services? Do they have a strong network of professionals that can help you in their absence?

#3. Costing

What will be charged and what is the payment plan? What’s included in the fees and what is additional?

#4. Registration and qualification

Are they qualified and are they part of a professional organisation? To do your tax return, are they registered at the online tax and BAS agent register? To advise you on a self-managed super fund, do they hold an Australian Financial Services License?

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