How To Choose The Right Accountant Business For You

There are many aspects to consider when you are deciding on an accountant. There are likely many accountants in your area to choose from and if you may not know where to start. Whether you are struggling with small business accounting or you’re in need of a finance management company to assist your personal finances, accountants are always helpful. They can assist you with tax returns or review financial statements, an accountant company will take a lot of stress away from your job. It is often more beneficial to hire a financial consulting firm than to hire an in-house accountant.

So how do you go about this? Our blog will help you find the right accountant in your area to ensure your finances are in good order. Keep reading to learn more.


The first thing you should consider is whether or not location is important to you. In the past, it was usually very important to choose an accountant that is close by. However, with more advanced options available, you can choose accountants that offer cloud-based technology and allow them to manage your finances from afar. However, many businesses prefer to know their accountant in person. That’s not to say you still can’t make use of video calls, email and phone calls to make everyone’s lives a little easier. Looking locally will not only help with communication, but you are also more likely to find accountants recommended by friends and other businesses in your area.

Certified and chartered accountants

You should always look for accountants that are regulated by a professional body or recognised by the government. This may be a certified public accountant, chartered accountant, a member of the Association of International Accountants or a member of the Institute of Financial Accountants. By choosing a chartered accountant, you are ensuring that they are qualified professionals who have completed above degree-level study along with workplace experience and a professional competence programme. Having this kind of talent on your side will add value to your business straight away. If you want your business to grow, a chartered accountant is essential.

Relevant experience

It’s important to find an accountant that has the right kind of experience. They’ll need to be familiar with preparing tax returns and financial documents for companies of a similar size and revenue as yours, otherwise, they may be out of their depth. For example, if your business uses cloud-based software, you’ll need an accountant who is able to understand this kind of software. Furthermore, an accountant experienced in the same industry sector as your business is also a plus. Ask the accountants in your area what clients they have already worked with and how they are able to adapt to the needs of your business.

Use social networks

The best way to find a good accountant is to ask others. Other businesses, friends or family may have the ticket to help you find the right one. Ask around to see what accountants they use and whether they would recommend them too. If they’ve had issues with accountants in the past, it’s good to know so you can find out who to avoid – any information is helpful. You should also consider that choosing an accountant is highly dependent on your own personal requirements. So what works for one business may not work for you. A business with 500 employees will have different accountant needs than a business with ten.

What to ask your social network

When you are asking your social network for accountant recommendations, you need to know what you’re searching for. You can make use of websites such as LinkedIn to dive a little deeper into an accountant’s background and find out things such as:

  • Who are they connected to? Are they surrounded by a strong web of professionals?
  • How do they market their services? What are they advertising and how enthusiastic are they about it?
  • Do their clients recommend their services? Do they have testimonials?
  • What experience do they have? What were they doing before accounting?
  • What qualifications do they hold? Are they chartered accountants?

Can the accounting company help you save money?

Some accountants won’t go the extra mile to help save you money. But you really need someone who is proactive about saving you money rather than just filing tax returns and managing accounts. Ask any prospective accountants how they can help you save money. For example, ask what proportion of your operation costs do they think you can offset against tax. They may be able to help you offset a percentage of your phone bill, car costs or even rent and mortgage payments. Ask about implications and whether the accountants warn you of any pitfalls. For example, using your home as a business premises could result in a tax charge being levied on the house when you sell it! Your accountant should be well versed on the differences between tax evasion and tax avoidance and be able to help you navigate saving your business money legally. The last thing you need is a dodgy accountant who takes things too far and risks your business operating illegally.

What software do they use?

Each accountant will be used to a particular software that they have likely used for years. This can cause issues if your business uses a different type of software as there can be problems with sharing data. You may be able to export and import data in a suitable format, although it can be time-consuming and lead to errors. Furthermore, it puts your highly sensitive financial information at risk while it is being sent back and forth. It’s a good idea to find an accountant who uses the same type of software as you do or is willing to do so. Many accountants will be open to using different software for different clients, especially if it’s easy to pick up. A fair approach would be both parties agreeing to use market-leading software that’s easy to use and only exchanging files that have been suitably encrypted.

Interview the finance management company

Once you have spoken to an accounting firm, you don’t have to go through with using their services. The initial process is just about finding the right one for you, and accountants will be used to being questioned about their services. Try to compare several accountants at once to help you determine which one will be best for your business. You can interview the accountant to see how well you will work together as well as gain free financial advice. By talking to multiple firms, you can find the financial consulting firm that’s right for you and your business.

Negotiate fees

Accountants don’t charge based on a universal method. Some may opt to charge by the hour, others may charge a monthly retainer, whereas others will charge a percentage of your turnover. As a business owner, it’s your job to get the best price and not let yourself get stung by high fees.  When negotiating fees, make sure to get written quotations from all the accountants you interview and carefully compare them. Considering all your options, one fee structure might sound right for you while you’re a small business but it may not be when your revenue grows. Nothing is set in stone. You could ask for a combined method of charging a sliding scale based on turnover, or any other wide variety of possibilities. The accountant might not agree to your proposed fee structure, but if you don’t ask you’ll never know.

Michael Filiou – Accountancy Partner

If you require accountancy services in Hertfordshire, Michael Filiou is here to help. We offer standard accountancy and compliance services, proactive tax management, strategic business planning, financial problem solving and crisis management. For more information, get in touch with our friendly team today. We want to help your business go far. Call us today on 01707 665533.