An accounting firm can help you keep your finances sorted and offer timely actionable advice. However, not all accountants are created equal. Choosing the accounting firm to entrust your personal or business finances with can be challenging.
So in this article, we will help you decide by discussing the most important factors to look for in an accounting firm.
Qualifications and Expertise
Whatever type of professional you’re planning to hire, you obviously want to hire one with a team of qualified finance professionals who possess the right skills to address your specific needs.
Depending on where you’re based, accountants may be certified as Chartered Accountants or Certified Public Accountants. Although they may be called differently, they are both regulated by professional bodies to ensure that high standards are maintained.
For basic tasks such as bookkeeping and preparation of tax returns, these certifications are not necessarily required. However, if you need help with more advanced financial analysis, audits, or for securing a loan, a certified accountant might be necessary.
Although most accounting firms offer the same services, they have different areas of expertise and may specialize in certain industries. Choosing an accountant with a strong background in your specific market sector can make a massive difference as they understand what you do and can offer industry-specific financial advice drawn from experience.
Before you sign a contract with an accounting firm, make sure that they also have previous experience working with businesses of a similar size and level of revenue. In a nutshell, what you’re looking for is someone with the right expertise and relevant experience to fit your needs.
The Right Tech Stack in Place
As the business landscape evolves, it is crucial to adapt in order to stay competitive. Modern accounting firms use innovative accounting systems and business apps that can transform businesses.
It is recommended to choose accountants who know the ins and outs of various cloud-based accounting systems and tools as they are proven effective in streamlining processes, boosting efficiencies, and delivering 24/7 real-time access to financial data wherever you are. Furthermore, these technologies are easily scalable, secure, and can back up your data automatically.
You can check if an accounting firm is trustworthy and reliable by checking for social proof and learning about the first-hand experience of past clients.
When looking for an accounting firm to hire, you can start by asking for recommendations from friends and connections. Even if you do get some suggestions, always do your own homework and search for firms with positive online reviews.
Once you have shortlisted accountants who fit your requirements, make sure to interview them and perform background checks before finalizing the partnership. You might also want to request references that you can contact to learn more about the quality of service they provide.
Personality and Approach
Hiring an accounting firm is ideally a long-term partnership. So when choosing an accountant to work closely with regarding your finances, it’s important to ensure that their personality and approach fit in with your preferences.
The best type of accounting firm is one that implements a personalized client-centered approach. Because you will likely have frequent interactions with them, the accountants that you should choose must be friendly yet professional.
It would also help if they can help you stay close to your numbers and understand what they mean without intimidating you with accounting jargon. Effective accountants are not only good at what they do but also have a way with people.
They use simple language that is easy to understand and can make you feel more at ease because there are no stupid questions for them. They are also proactive in helping you improve your profitability and tax position, and put your interests at the heart of everything they do.
Accounting firms have different pricing structures. There are some who charge by the hour, while others offer packages with fixed monthly rates.
When meeting with prospective accounting firms, don’t forget to ask about their rates and the potential extra charges they may charge for additional consultation or business travel. Upon requesting for written quotation from multiple accounting firms, compare them and check which one has the most reasonable fees based on the value that they can bring to the table.
This is also the best time to narrow down your list according to the accounting firms that fit your budget. However, it’s important to note that while money is always a factor, it is not wise to choose the cheapest one immediately. You must choose the accounting firm that is suitable for your specific needs.
Choosing the best CPA accounting firm for your personal or business finances can be a challenging task. Yet, by knowing what to look for in an accounting firm, you will be able to find the ideal long-term partner that can help you achieve your financial goals.