Accountants are highly trained professionals who can help you make sense of the numbers, so you can make smarter financial decisions for your home and business. Whether you just need an accountant to help you handle the taxes or you require one to handle the books for your growing business, you want to find one who is capable and trustworthy. Here are some tips to help you find the right accountant for your needs.
Money Well Spent
Accountants are well worth the extra cost to you or your business. The tax code constantly changes, and most people don’t have the time or energy to keep up with it. Your accountant, however, makes that his personal goal in life. A quality accountant will lower your tax burden by finding deductions you would have missed. When you go to choose an accountant, make sure to find someone who is staying current with all of these changes.
Jack of all Trades, Master of None
Just as doctors, teachers and lawyers specialize in different fields, so do accountants. While they are all capable, they each have their own area of expertise. If your business has had past problems with a particular tax issue, then you should look for an accountant who specializes in that field. Similarly, while you may be able to find one accountant who can help you in all areas, it’s better to look for professionals who are highly skilled in the areas that are important to you.
A doctor has to pass the boards before putting certain initials alongside his name, but an accountant is not held by any such standard. While a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) must pass a difficult exam and have a certain experience level, anyone can call themselves an accountant. Do not assume that the “accountant” you are interviewing has the right education or experience. Look for an accountant with a membership with the ICAEW, CIMA or ACCA. This is an easy way to make sure you are hiring someone who has the proper education, experience, and skills.
Your tax accountant shouldn’t just breeze into your life in February and then disappear for a year. A great accountant will stay in touch with you throughout the year, even if they are only used for audits after the fiscal year end or your taxes in the spring. They will be proactive about staying in touch to provide you with support. When talking to accountants, ask them about their service level and how they help clients throughout the year.
You cannot hire an accountant based on personality alone, but you also don’t want to hire one who rubs you the wrong way. This professional will have access to your financial information and possibly your accounts, so you should hire someone you can get along with and trust. You should feel comfortable talking to them and asking questions when necessary.
Finally, don’t wait until the last minute to start looking for your accountant. It takes time to find the right person, and you don’t want to rush the process. With a little patience and research, you are sure to find the perfect accountant for your business or personal finances.
About the Author: Rena Martin blogs about personal and business finance for Accountant.org, which has the nation’s largest directory of accountants. Use their directory to find a great accountant in your city today.
Image: Alan Cleaver / Flickr