SME Adviser Series: Choosing an accountant for your business

13 Oct 2017

Choosing the right accountant is one of the most important decisions an SME business owner or manager can make.
 
Accountants can provide a wealth of business and tax advice. Choosing a good one can save you time and help your business grow; choosing a bad one could cost you money.
 
According to an article in the Guardian*, there are eight key questions which will help you choose the right accountant for your business:
 
Do you understand my industry?
Are your fees fixed?
Can technology help?
What does ‘digital first’ mean for my tax filings, and can you help?
How are you regulated?
What are your plans for your business?
What’s your attitude to tax planning?
 
Team up with the right accountant and you will find a trusted business partner who will not only assist you in meeting your legal obligations in terms of accounting and tax, but who will also be able to assist you in putting the right structures in place to enhance the longer-term success of your business.
 
A good accountant will assist in:
 
- Finding the optimal legal structure for your business
- Evaluating finance
- Writing a business plan
- Setting up bookkeeping and management information systems
- Selecting software, and
- Finding new and creative ways to develop and manage a growing business.
 
And a good accountant will want to speak to you regularly, not just once a year to sort your tax return and annual accounts!
 
It is important to make sure that your accountant’s firm is regulated by one of the main accountancy bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants. They will make sure their members keep their skills and knowledge up to date through continuing professional development, and they will also hold them to account in the event of bad practice, so you’ll be afforded some protection if things go wrong.
 
Once you’ve chosen your accountant, it is essential that you share with them as much information as possible to equip them to be able to help you make the best decisions for you and your business - both now and for the future:
 
If you are starting a business tell them about the accounting records you keep. Can they suggest improvements?
If business accounts are to be prepared, your adviser will want to see your accounting records. Ask them about additional charges for services such as preparing VAT returns or running a payroll.
If you are thinking of buying a software package discuss the options with your adviser. The purchase of a compatible product could save chargeable time and fees.
 
Let your adviser know your plans for the future of your business. Your growth ambitions, financing needs, succession plans. These are all important aspects which require forethought and early preparation.
 
In conclusion
 
Choosing the right accountant is like choosing a new business partner – it’s a vital business decision and should not be taken lightly. The right accountant will become a trusted colleague you can depend on, so make sure you choose one you like and feel comfortable with. 
 
Being able to talk openly with your accountant is essential and transparency between the two of you is key.
 
At Beavis Morgan, our team of accountants and SME business experts put processes in place which make it easier to run your business and to maintain effective management of your company’s working capital.
 
We assist with management accounts, enabling better control of your financial situation and awareness of the business in real time, enhancing planning for the peaks and troughs, and making sure you always know how your business is performing.
 
Whilst the tax environment remains convoluted and confrontational, we understand the demands placed on individuals and businesses and we work at understanding you, your business and its unique issues, so as to provide the right advice and solutions to help you improve your net worth and increase growth and profitability.
 
Our diverse team of tax professionals are committed to ensuring that your tax reporting obligations are fully satisfied and that every opportunity to lawfully exploit tax savings is made known to you, restructuring your affairs in a tax effective and efficient way. And we will discuss ways to make your tax return easier by taking the hassle of dealing with HMRC away from you, so you don’t need to contact them directly.
 
For information about how we can assist you and your business by putting processes in place to benefit you now and plan ahead for the future, contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.
 
* Guardian Small Business Network Accessing Expertise hub [3 October 2017]