Maybe you’ve just set up your own business and are looking for a new accountant. Or perhaps your accountant has just retired and you need to look for a new one. What you need to bear in mind is that hiring the right accountant for your business isn’t a simple process. Who you choose to look after your accounts is crucial, especially if you have plans to expand as you will need to look for someone who will come with you on your journey to success – an accountant who will not just help you with your tax return, but also advise you on your business, and get more involved in the financial side of things the bigger your company gets.

Ask around

Word-of-mouth – sometimes called ‘earned advertising’ for a good reason – remains one of the most powerful marketing tools there is, with around 84% of people relying on it as a trustworthy source of information. So one of the best ways of choosing a new accountant is to ask your business contacts for referrals. If they’re happy with theirs, they’ll be happy to give you a recommendation. If you don’t get any joy from referrals, ask the people you meet at networking groups. Who knows, you may already know someone from an accountancy firm who’s a member of one of your groups – if you already like and trust them, then it’s definitely worth setting up a meeting to talk about how their company can help you.

Look at the website

However glowing the testimonials about possible future accountants are, you must always do your research. Start with the company’s website and look at the accounting services they offer with an eye on what you might need in the future. If you choose an accountancy firm now that doesn’t have the expertise to help you as your business expands, you’ll end up back at square one.

Keep your options open

However good you think one firm is – and you may well end up hiring them – always keep your options open. Choose a shortlist of three or four firms you think are a good fit and arrange face-to-face meetings with all of them.

What you’re looking for is a company that is a good fit for your business, so go armed with lots of questions. In addition to the fees, you need to find out about the services they provide, as well as their customer services. Ask questions about their turnaround time on jobs in order to get a feel for how they process and prioritise their work, and how they are likely to treat you as a client.

In addition to questions about fees and service levels, it’s important to ask questions about the qualifications and experience of the people who would be dealing with your accounts. When you reach the stage where you need extra help from the firm, who will you be dealing with? You need to know that you could work with them, always trust that they are on your side and are constantly looking for ways of adding financial value to your company.