Choosing an Accountant; a Beginner’s Guide for Small Business

If you’re in the early stages of your business, one of the major concerns you need to address is how you’ll meet your accounting needs. Even if you start out managing your finances on your own, things will become more complicated and difficult to handle over time. It will become overwhelming to even consider keeping tabs on all the transactions related to the business as well as staying up to date and accurate in taxation matters among other things. The bottom line? You will need help with your accounting. But how do you find the one accountant or accounting team that will be the perfect fit for your business? If you are at that point where you need to hire an accountant or are on the verge of switching accountants these tips will prove very helpful.

Where to Look

Consult the registries of certified accounting professionals published by local and international oversight bodies.  You can also post your vacancy on professional platforms and in other media.  Additionally, reputable organizations for accounting professionals often have a registry that you can consult to find suitable candidates.

Experience and Expertise

These two words sum up the main qualities you must look out for in an accounting professional. The accounting professional you engage should be highly trained and experienced. Experience with your business size and niche is also ideal. But sometimes the ideal will be just outside of your reach and you will have to select the best candidate based on other characteristics.  Business tax processing is pretty complicated so it is important to ensure that the accountant you hire has expertise in this field.

During your hiring process, you should definitely pay keen attention to credentials and take steps to verify certification validity. Contenders for your accounting post should at the very minimum be university graduates holding a graduate or postgraduate degree in business accounting. The candidates that stand out from the pack will also have supplementary accounting certification.  Your ideal professional accountant should also hold qualifications from powerful national and international accounting examination boards.

Among the qualifications that you’ll see among applicants’ CVs are the CPA (Certified Professional Accountant), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst, CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and the CIA (Certified Internal Auditor).

During the vetting process, you should try to ascertain the extent to which the candidate is familiar with and proficient in the use of modern accounting software and systems such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Sage 50cloud, ZarMoney and KPMG Spark.

The accountant who is working on behalf of your small business should also be professionally flexible. This means that the individual needs to have the capacity to adjust to meet the changing needs of your business as well as changes in the industry. 

Find and Examine Impartial Client Reviews 

Always check the performance history of your accountant before hiring. If previous clients (or existing clients in the case of freelance accountants or accounting firms) laud your candidate for punctuality, accuracy, reliability, trustworthiness, and commitment, then you know you’ve found a potential accountant. Ensure that all applicants provide testimonials or referrals from previous clients where possible.

 

 

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