Choosing an Accountant

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Are you in the market for a new accountant or maybe your first accountant?  Maybe you have no idea where to begin.  Maybe you have no accounting software, or maybe you purchased accounting software and need training.  Perhaps you just want to put your accounting in the capable hands of an expert.  Whatever your reasons, here’s some information for you about choosing an accountant.

Accountants come in all shapes and sizes, just like any other career out there.  It all depends on how little or how much you need your accountant to accomplish.  Are you looking for a financial advisor?  You definitely need someone you can trust.  They will be managing your cash flow, assisting you with your budget, making projects, and keeping your books updated.

Most entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and start-ups have their business and personal finances closely linked.  Don’t make any decisions without considering the entire picture. A good accountant can help you with both.

Write down what your expectations are for your new accountant. Think about the types of tasks you need them to handle for you.

Do you need:

  • To process payroll?
  • Help with taxes?
  • Accounts payable assistance?
  • Someone to handle your billing?
  • Your accounts reconciled after you’ve done the input?
  • Someone to handle all the input and you will just review reports with them?

Please do not just choose an accountant without asking a few important questions about them:

  1. Have you worked with others in my industry?
  2. What are your professional qualifications and/or experiences?
  3. Ask for professional references.
  4. Will you be responsive to my needs? How accessible are you?
  5. What is the cost and what does the service involve for that cost?

Get a clear picture of how the process will work.  Don’t assume anything. Most especially, be sure that your new accountant is compatible with you and is a good “fit” for you and your business needs.  Also, make sure to get your agreement in writing and signed by both you and your new accountant.

Locating a new accountant:

  • Referral – I always say that word of mouth is a great way to get referrals of some really awesome people.  Ask others who they use for an accountant.  Ask if they are satisfied with that person and ask why.  Not everyone has the same needs & wants or expectations so ask plenty of questions.
  • Crowdsourcing – this could be a local directory, Yellow Pages, or an online service such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, Google, or Yelp.
  • Go to the source – If you are already using accounting software, go to the vendor’s site.  For example, if you are using QuickBooks, go to the Intuit website and search their certified ProAdvisor list.  There are many to choose from including , Xero, Freshbooks, and Sage (formerly Peachtree).

Also, check out American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for some great information on standards, requirements, leadership, and governance of the industry.

Best of luck to you in your search for an accountant.

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