Having your accounts done well is a crucial aspect of your business, as this will ensure that you can stay on top of your finances, avoid charges and fines, and even improve your cash flow so that you are better able to plan for your business success. Nevertheless, accounting is a skill that does not come naturally without training, and therefore finding a good accountant is essential.
Although some people turn to DIY accounting, this is not recommended as it can result in nothing short of financial disaster for your company. Nonetheless, choosing the right tax accountant can be a minefield too: here are some of the common mistakes that people make when choosing such a professional and how to avoid them.
Firstly, many people make the error of simply choosing the first accountant that they come across. It is easy to believe that all trained accountants should be able to handle the same tasks to the same standard, but this is simply not the case. Accountants – like any other professional in any field – will have areas of specialisation and will be more or less capable of carrying out certain work.
This means that you should not just simply choose your tax accountant based on their proximity to you and whether or not they were the first name that popped up in your local directory of services. Instead, look for an accountant that has the skills, qualifications, experience and expertise in your particular type of business instead.
Another common mistake that many people make is hiring an accountant based on the low fees that they offer. Again, accounting is a real skill that is difficult to master for many, and the best accountants out there are likely to charge a little bit more for their services – cheap services are often likely to get you cheap results, unfortunately.
This does not stop many people from being reluctant to pay for their accountant’s services, always looking to get a bargain and avoid these necessary expenses. This is not to say that you should not look for a reasonably priced service, but you should be wary of those who are offering significantly lower fees than everyone else, as the service might simply not be up to scratch.
The next common error that people make when they look for a tax accountant is hiring a firm to do the work, with no one particular person who is working on the accounts. This is sometimes the case in larger firms, where a group of individuals may be tasked with your accounts rather than a single individual.
Although there is nothing wrong with this per se, having one point of contact who is particularly knowledgeable about your situation, your business and your accounts is very important. This will mean that you have your questions and queries answered promptly when you need them to be, whether you are concerned about your taxes or have a question about expenses.
You should also avoid working with an accountant who is specialised in only one area and is unable to advise on broader matters. The best accountants will have knowledge of many different areas of their sector, even though they may only work specifically with small businesses, for example.
Even if the accountant does not know the answer to a question, they should be willing to find this answer and get back to you as soon as possible about it with a concrete and precise response. For this reason, look for an accountant who is motivated, committed, and a good communicator when it comes to informing you about various financial matters.
From choosing an accountant based on fees to selecting a tax accountant just because they are the first professional that you come across, there are many mistakes that you can make when choosing to hire one of the these professionals. However, by avoiding these mistakes you are much more likely to find yourself a seasoned accounting professional that you can rely upon.