A good accountant should offer more than just ‘doing the books’ once a year.
There are several things to bear in mind when setting out to choose an accountant.
Firstly, once you have made your choice you are likely to have a long-term relationship with the practice. Many accountants are advising the third generation of a family business.
Secondly, many business people pay in excess of 20% and sometimes substantially more, of their profits in tax, and National Insurance. So it is worthwhile investing your time in finding the right practice for you.
How do you decide the right firm for you? As a general rule you should look for a firm which is similar in size to yours or has clients of the same size as your business – they will be more understanding of the issues and problems you will face.
Where do you find a list of practising firms? You can look in your local phone book, visit the accountancy bodies’ websites – the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has a directory of firms covering all its practices.
Many business people value a recommendation from others in business and this is frequently a good source. But you should remember that what works for one business many not work for another, so if you are recommended a practice you must find out what it is about the practice that makes it valued.
Once you have a potential shortlist of practices you should phone between three and six firms and arrange to meet at least three of these. Check in advance whether the first meeting to discuss their appointment is free of charge. During the meeting:
Linda Cotterill Chartered Accountants
Hopton Corner House
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