Hints and tips on choosing the right accountant for your small business

If you run a small business or are working on plans for a start-up, one of the first contacts you should make is with a good accountant, one that’s right for your very specific requirements. While you may need a lawyer to help establish a company, and on an infrequent basis thereafter as and when needed, your relationship with an accountant should be an ongoing process.

 

With so many accountants Scotland wide to choose from, where should I start?

A business is all about the figures: they are a measure of your success and keeping your books in good general order is vital if you’re not only to meet your regulatory deadlines, but also keep an eye on your cashflow and manage your tax affairs effectively.

Our first tip when looking for a financial advisor based in Dundee or elsewhere in Scotland is to ensure that any prospective candidate is properly and fully qualified. Look for evidence of membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) clearly displayed on the company’s website.

Next, check out the company’s details for an indication that they are not only experienced in their field, but also in dealing with businesses of your type and size. They should also cover the range of accountancy functions you might need, from basic book-keeping and taxation to offering advice on business planning and growth strategies. Will they, for example, help you complete your self-assessment returns; assist with setting up payroll services as you take on new employees; and offer expertise on planning your own finances for the future and your retirement.

 

Should I choose a local accountant?

If meeting with your accountant face-to-face is important to you, as it is to many small business owners, check that the company has a physical presence in your area. If you’re based in or around Dundee, for instance, you want to know that you have accountants Dundee based that you can consult, rather than having to take excessive travel time out of your busy day.

To facilitate good communication and information exchange between your business and your accountant, it’s also well worth looking for a firm that offers online accounting software, such as Quick Books, FreeAgent and Xero. This can also save you valuable time when it comes to submitting regulatory returns to HMRC and Companies House, as applicable, freeing you up to concentrate on the day-to-day running of your business.

 

How do I know if an accountant is good?

Positive word-of-mouth and online testimonials are always a good sign, especially if the accountant has experience of dealing with a similar type of business to yours. Before you make your final decision as to which accountants based in Scotland you wish to use, take up references from previous clients. You want to know that a particular accountancy practice will be responsive to your needs; proactive in anticipating change within your business as you grow and has a good reputation amongst other businesses of your type.

Finally, it’s always valuable to arrange a meeting with any prospective accountants in Scotland you are thinking of hiring. That way, you’ll get a good feel for what it will be like to work with them. An approachable, friendly accountant makes all the difference: you’ll know you can contact them at any time with queries or worries before they escalate into causes for concern!

 

We always have the kettle on and would be delighted to meet you to find out more about your business and your needs. We’d love to hear from you.