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How to review your accountancy support

You compare your suppliers to ensure you’re getting a competitive price and service, but have you thought about reviewing your accountancy support? It may be that you’ve used the same accountant for a long while and they’re most likely giving you the support you need. But it’s always worthwhile conducting a review to make sure they’re reaching your expectations and meeting your current business needs.

But what should you look for? These are the questions we believe you need to ask yourself in order to make an informed assessment.

1.    Do they have the right expertise?

Do they have the relevant technical know-how to meet and exceed your business requirements? Do they understand legal accounting requirements, tax complexities and the fine details of audit obligations? This technical expertise is key to your businesses’ future development so it’s essential you’re happy with their credentials. Likewise, do they understand the new Making Tax Digital programme and are they up to speed on what this means for your business?

2.    Are they good communicators?

Does your current accountant communicate clearly with you? Do they use plain English to explain what they need from you and crucially, what your financial reports mean, so you understand the information clearly? Are they available whenever you need them? If you can contact them anytime with a query and get a swift answer, you’ll feel like they’re part of your team and know that they have your best interests as their focus.

3.    Are they sufficiently qualified?

Check with your accountant to make sure they are properly qualified. Qualifications in this industry are essential as there is such a high level of competency required to understand financial affairs – this cannot be taken lightly.

4.    Are they highly organised?

Do you ever have to chase your accountant to get things done or do they keep you updated in a timely manner? They should keep you informed about upcoming deadlines rather than you having to chase them. A good accountant will plan ahead and make sure everything’s properly scheduled. As issues are about to come up, they’ll tell you they are dealing with them, rather than waiting for you to prompt them when you receive a notification that a deadline has passed.

5.    Do they offer helpful solutions?

Rather than presenting you with problems, do they show you constructive ways to resolve challenges? A good accountant will have your priorities as their priorities and will work through things with you to make sure that everything is on the right path.

6.    Are they a good fit for your operation?

Have they supported other businesses of your size with your issues? For example, have they helped start-ups, self-employed business people, small businesses and niche players?  Or have they supported social enterprises and not-for-profits? Or have they provided an effective service to medium sized companies and large businesses? If your company has experienced a growth phase, do they have the capability to meet your current needs? Check that they have the specific skill set needed to look after your organisation’s accounting, tax and audit needs.

7.    Do they have relevant real-world experience?

Is your accountant experienced enough to handle your accounts? A good accountant will have reams of experience to help you make the most of the exemptions and tax allowances available to small, medium sized and larger businesses. Some tax deductions take a while to process and your accountant should be aware of this and plan accordingly so that your business benefits.

8.    Are their charges clear and fair?

Are you clear about their charging structure and are you happy that it is fair? This is completely your decision to make, but if you’ve opted to be charged at an hourly rate check that the total charge for maintaining your financial affairs is reasonable. If you prefer a fixed rate structure, check the fees are fair in the light of the amount of work required. Overall, consider whether you’re getting good value from their support and advice. Has their service provided you with reduced tax, improved efficiency, and better business decisions because you have clear financial information?

Having reviewed your current accountant in the light of these questions we hope that you’re satisfied with their service. If their support is falling short talk to them to try to resolve the matter. If you’re aware that you need a better level of support from a different accountant, then you’re welcome to consider our service. Talk to the team by calling 01992 444466 or email directors@hbaccountants.co.uk

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HB Accountants is the trading name of HBAS Limited, a company registered in England with the registered number 5085258. The registered office of HBAS Limited is Amwell House, 19 Amwell Street, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, EN11 8TS, ENGLAND. VAT Reg. 866062806