Accountants can be a valuable asset to your business when it comes to both your financial admin and how to run your business.
While accounting software like Countingup can automate the manual admin, you and your new accountant can focus more on how you’re managing your business’ money.
Learn how to find the right accountant for your business and what to look for as you search in this guide. We’ll discuss:
- Why you need an accountant
- Where you can find an accountant
- What to consider as you search
- What you should expect
- How software can help your business and you
Why you need an accountant
Declaring your income and documenting your expenses is a universal experience for every business, but the laws and regulations for each industry are often changing. Your business should have an accountant because they’re specialists, and will be able to keep you informed of any industry changes you may need to know about. So as well as saving your business money through your accounting, they will help you stay compliant with industry regulations.
Without access to their expertise, your business can also miss out on strategies for your long-term growth and business insight more generally. Accounting software is excellent for record-keeping and eliminating the pain of time-consuming admin, but an expert accountant can help take your business to the next level.
Where can you find an accountant
You can find an accountant by searching online via Google, LinkedIn, or dedicated business registers like Yell.com and Yellow Pages. You may have personal connections who know reputable accountants and can refer them to you.
Unfortunately, the term ‘accountant’ isn’t protected in law – anyone can set up a general accounting firm to offer their services. For this reason, there are various UK professional bodies for accountants that exist to ensure the quality and expertise of any accountancy services their members offer. They do this by granting ‘chartered accountant’ status.
You can confirm the status of any accountants you’re looking to work with using these online tools:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland
- Chartered Accountants Ireland (both Northern and Republic of Ireland register)
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK wide)
What to consider as you search
When you’ve found a potential accountant and verified their chartered status, you’ll also need to think about the following before making a decision:
- Do they specialise in your industry or in working with small businesses? Specific tax rules and accounting strategies will be available to some businesses and not others. Finding an accountant or accountancy firm that is knowledgeable in your industry or familiar with businesses of your size is essential. While most accountants will likely be able to help you with the basics of bookkeeping and strategy, finding a suitable professional can mean having better opportunities to grow your business.
- Can they provide additional services? Some firms have business support services along with specialised accountancy strategies, or can help their clients raise funds using their industry connections. Access to these additional resources and professional networks could be very valuable for your business.
- Do they have professional indemnity insurance? This is a type of insurance for businesses that protects them if their clients lose money from their poor advice or services. Indemnity insurance is not a legal requirement but can signal to you that an accountancy firm is serious about serving you well and protecting your future.
- How much do they cost? Qualified and supportive accountants can be pricey but may be worth it. It’s important you find out what’s included in their fees, what they might charge extra for, how regularly they charge throughout the year and what you need to provide to them.
- Are they an individual or a firm with a team? If just getting started, you may be able to rely on a single accountant as your requirements shouldn’t be so complex that they require additional input. Fortunately, this can help you reduce your cost as you’ll only be paying for one person’s time rather than a large staff. However, as you expand, you may wish to use a larger firm that can provide more specialised or dedicated support for your business. Specifically, this might be relevant if you expand or trade internationally and have new tax regulations to comply with.
What you should expect
Once you’ve found an accountant you’re happy with and would like to work with them, they’ll issue a ‘letter of engagement’ or a contract. This document will outline the terms and conditions you’ll both be expected to meet.
Once you set up the necessary payment information, your accountant should check in with you across the year – not just at the end when you need to file taxes. They’ll ask how your trading is going, if you’re staying on top of your accounts and if you need any business advice. Similarly, if you’re in between meetings with them, you still should be able to reach out for advice as long as it’s covered in your initial fee. If you’re planning a big project or need prolonged help, your accountant may charge for the additional time.
And of course, if you’re not happy with your experience, you have other options you can use.
How accounting software can help your business
If you’re looking to save time and money on bookkeeping while running your business, look no further than Countingup.
Countingup automates your financial admin so you and your accountant can focus on your business’ growth. Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app so that your financial records are all in one place, organised and accurate – saving you time and stress.
With the Countingup app, your invoicing and profit and loss data are automated and ready in real-time. It also provides handy expense reminders so you can keep organised and scan receipts while you’re on the go.
For your accountant, Countingup makes sharing your financial information easier, so neither of you has to spend time chasing up paperwork, and you get more value for your accountant’s time.Find out more here and sign up for free today.