How to identify and hire a good accountant for your business

In managing issues of credit and debt for your business – it is paramount no corners are cut. As your business grows it would be a good idea to consider relieving yourself of financial management and either working with (or hiring) a professional. If you are looking to hire or work with an accountant it is essential that you find someone who is suited to your business’ needs. Here are some top pieces of advice and insight to ensure that you choose the right professional for your business:

What training and qualifications should my accountant have?

To start training as an accountant, the usual requirements are at least a 2:1 classification from a university degree. Following that, all accountants need to have passed a series of rigorous and heavily moderated accountancy examinations so that they are licensed to provide their services via either consultancy or in-house capacity.

One of the official bodies for accountancy in the UK is the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). This institution is regarded as industry standard, setting precedent and supporting several higher educational pathways such as foundation, BSC and MSc degrees.

Further professional qualifications are necessary to be regarded as a chartered accountant. As a potential employer, you reserve the right to verify certificates as proof when hiring.

Why might my business need an accountant?

You may decide to hire an accountant at any stage of a business start-up: a benefit of hiring an accountant from the outset is that you would be able to silo your management efforts away from particular areas of finance and accounting, confident in the knowledge this will be handled to industry standard.  Hiring (or establishing a partnership with) an accountant for a specific area of your finances would ensure the margin for error is slim.

Types of accountants you could consider:

Tax accountant:

Tax accountants specialise in servicing advice regarding taxation, including the management of tax liability and suitable compliance with current legislation. Tax advisors/accountants are tasked with interpreting ever-changing taxation legislation to a stream of clients.

Chartered tax accountants must keep ahead of legislative developments and should continually review knowledge so to direct and guide businesses. UK tax accountants tend to qualify as a chartered tax advisor as certified by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).

Financial accountant:

Financial accounting is the expertise of accountancy concerned with analysis and reporting of transactions connecting to a business. This also involves the preparation of financial statements made available for public viewing. Should your business be expanding, an accountant can assist with growth transitions e.g. hiring new employees and new spaces for the business. An accountant can then manage payroll, employee tax, property tax, bills etc. which come with these changes. Financial statements reflect past performance, based on standards and guidelines known as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles).

Bookkeeper:

Bookkeeping is an entry-level accountancy practice – whilst it is more beneficial for the owners of the company to keep their records, an accountant can help with the difficult set-up process and show you how to manage records efficiently. For example, a bookkeeping accountant would help you establish budgets, spot sales trends, deal with accounts payable and would also suitably reduce outgoings where and when required.

As well as suitable qualification and experience required to be hired as a business’ accountant, you should also look for essential soft skills such as:

1. Passion for the job

Your accountant should show passion for their role and be proactive. They should enjoy delving into complex matters and show an immaculate eye for detail. As an employer or business owner, you should feel confident and reassured that the accountant you are dealing with cares about your business.

2. Good communication

You should feel reassured working with your accountant and they should be willing to share their work with you – and vice versa. Types of reasonable communication between yourself and your accountant may involve emails, Skype calls, phone calls and of course face-to-face meetings to keep you abreast of their work in your accounts.

3. Good leadership

Your accountant should be a self-starter, and confident in driving your business’ finances in the right direction. Your accountant should have the confidence to make strategic decisions and set long-term planning techniques which will benefit your company.

4. Time management

Your accountant should give you enough time to provide a satisfying service but not so much time that the relationship feels dependent. A good accountant should have an organised time schedule to prevent juggling too many clients at once.

In summary – it is important that you remain in control of your business’ finances so not to result in considerable and unmanageable debt. If you would like any further information on credit reporting and debt management, contact Creditreform today on 0121 442 5330 to see how we can assist.

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