How to find a good accountant
First published on 25 of October 2017 • Updated 08 of January 2019
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If you run a business or are otherwise self-employed, then having an accountant can bring many advantages. At the most basic level, your accountant can free up more of your time by handling key functions such as bookkeeping and tax returns. As your business grows, your accountant’s input will become progressively more significant, covering essential areas like financial reporting, compliance, payroll, tax efficiency, business planning and more.
Above all, a good accountant provides you with the reliable financial information you need to make key decisions, helping your business to grow faster while saving you money.
When should I find an accountant?
Unless your business remains very small, its accounting requirements will quickly become too much for you to handle alone. Furthermore, if you are not a trained accountant, this can be costly both in time and money, as you will take longer and may make costly mistakes. Broadly speaking, if you find you are spending more than four hours a week on the accounts, or have plans for growth, then it is time to engage a professional.
What can an accountant do for my business?
Having an accountant frees up your time so you can focus on what you do best. It also cuts the risk to your business by reducing the likelihood of errors in tax, financial reporting and compliance. An accountant can also actively save you money in many areas by increasing tax efficiency, improving cash flows and sourcing funding. In addition, he or she can provide invaluable general support by offering general business advice, discussing your ideas and stress-testing business plans.
Here are some of the services your accountant can provide.
- Helping you pay the right amount of tax
- Improving tax efficiency
- Financial compliance
- Creating / developing your business plan
- Sourcing funding for growth
- Growth management
- Extracting value from your business
- Exit planning
Find out more about accounting services.
Finding an accountant
There are two ways to find an accountant on Unbiased.
The first way is to use our Connect tool. Just give as much detail as you can about what you need, and our system will match you with the nearest suitable accountant.
The second way is to search and browse. Enter your postcode to see a list of accountants in order of distance from you. You can then refine your search (e.g. to find accounts with specialist expertise).
Is this accountant right for me?
Be sure to meet your accountant in person before engaging their services. You will be working closely together, so a personal connection is important.
This is also a good time to talk about their qualifications and experience. It is not a legal requirement for an accountant to hold any qualifications, but you should ensure that yours is qualified through one of the recognised UK bodies, e.g. ICAEW, ICAS, CIMA or ACCA. Also find out if they are a chartered accountant – chartered status is an internationally recognised level of professional standing.
Most accountants will display their certificates in their offices. You can also double-check by contacting the relevant organisation.
You should also discuss your accountant’s fees. An accountant’s job is to save you money overall (while protecting you from certain risks), so ask them to explain the ways in which their services will deliver value.
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