Whether you’re a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership it’s likely that you’ll need some help preparing your tax returns. Choosing the right accountant for this is important and can be a daunting task – although the industry is regulated there are a wide range of professionals practicing with a wide range of skill-sets.So how do you find the right tax accountant for you?
Of course recommendations can be useful and they’re often a great way to find a new business partner, but be careful of mixing business with friendship. If an accountant comes recommended by a friend, you still need to make sure that they offer everything you need. If you stop working with them will this affect your friendship or cause problems in any way? Be wary of selecting an accountant based on recommendation alone.Qualifications
Anyone can call themselves an accountant, but a good basic rule is to look for a Chartered accountant who must have passed several examinations set by regulatory bodies. A Chartered accountant must also complete a certain number of hours of training every year to ensure that their skills are up to date – by choosing a Chartered accountant you can therefore be sure that they are legitimate and have current knowledge of tax regulations.Their Location
Is having a local accountant important to you? Many people see their accountants just once a year when preparing their tax return, and may see them regularly to discuss a wider range of business issues. It’s a good idea to at least meet your accountant in person wherever they’re based, but if you need a lot of support a local firm might be a good idea.Tax Software
Modern technology has meant modern accountancy software, and you might want to take advantage of this. For example, some accountants will allow you to send them your paperwork electronically, speeding up the whole process. If your tax preparation can be done online this means lower overheads too, and your accountant should be able to pass this saving on to you, the customer.Fees
The lowest fee isn’t always the best – a good accountant will save you money on your tax return, lowering the fees that your business has to pay. Fixed fees can be a good idea, for example for filing your end of year taxes, if you know the size of the job and want the security of a single bill. Be wary of fixed fees if you think you need further advice however – your accountant may be wary of working extra if they’re working at a loss, so sometimes an hourly rate can pay off.
The best advice when looking for any accountant is to ask questions. What are their areas of expertise and do they have experience in your sector? How can they benefit your business? A good accountant will be happy to answer any questions you may have.