With the economic slowdown from Coronavirus, there’s no better time to start looking for a new accountant.
Especially with how detrimental COVID-19 was to many small businesses, it’s important to find someone that not only knows where you’re at but how you can recover and grow into the future.
Although it’s an overlooked part of accounting for some firms, we take pride in helping companies grow, which is why we’ve compiled a few key points in what you should look for in an accountant. Whether that solution is ultimately with us or not, we want to make sure that you’re on the right path. That’s why we’ve provided you with some solid questions to get started with. Check them out below:
Why are they accountants?
Accounting is a practice you genuinely have to find value in beyond the numbers.
Often the ‘dirty work’ to what makes a lot of businesses honest with their practices and grow towards their goals, accounting plays an integral role in the lives of entrepreneurs and individuals looking to create a foundational financial plan. After knowing a bit about the industry, we can say there’s a lot of accountants out there who don’t have much attachment to their work, but rather look at it as a means to a paycheck. Although there’s nothing wrong with making a living, there’s often a massive price that comes with what might otherwise be an elementary amount of work.
When vetting an accountant, check and see not only why they’re in the industry, but what they understand about your business. As you know your field best, it’s not hard to sniff out if someone is faking an act just to land you as a client or really wants to learn the in’s and out’s of your operation (as well as has any experience in it). Instead, go after someone that understands what you’re doing, why you do it, and how they can be there to help.
What are their services?
Even if you do find an honest accountant, that’s not to say they offer everything you might need as a business. No matter if it’s a niche category like cryptocurrency transactions from a corporation or something as simple as bookkeeping, there are a ton of different types of services out there an accountant could address. For example, one of our favorite services is consulting with entrepreneurs on what type of corporate structure they should apply to their practice. Take a glance at what your company has needed before, as well as what they might want in the future, providing an accountant that understands where your business stands and how it can grow into future needs.
Who are their other clients?
If any are publicly listed, looking at other clients can give a feel for what an accountancy does, as well as the types of personalities they serve. Although this is mostly private information, being able to even see general sectors can be helpful, knowing where exactly you should try and land per your options.
…go after a team that reminds you of yourself, giving a breath of fresh air to understanding accounting and how it can help your business grow.
What do they get out of a client like me?
An underrated aspect of shopping for an accountant is what you look like as a client. Quite simply, this involves looking at yourself from their perspective and understanding the value in the price tag they put on their offer; for example, if they charge a lot for some simple 1099 processing versus if they have a feasible monthly retainer that says they want to encompass all your services for the long-haul. In the end, no one likes to get ripped off, which is why you need to understand what the exact value they get out of you as well.
What’s their rate?
An obviously vital question in comparing value, the rate of an accountant can vary quite a bit. According to Cost Helper, the estimated hourly rate is between $150 to $400 per hour, which doesn’t include bookkeeping services. Depending on where you’re at in your career versus what you’re aiming to get out of an accountant, there’s a lot of factors other there that build into this price. Come up with a clear, concrete list of services that are a must before hopping into pricing to ensure you’re getting the best ROI.
Who makes up their team? Is it a personality fit?
Most people want to work with someone similar to themselves. Beyond just having a diverse team, the other half of having a long-term professional relationship is what type of personality fit the company has. For a lot of accountancies, the general attitude is button-up and professional, which while on the surface can seem nice, may not always be the type of communication channel you’re looking for. Furthermore, a lot of ‘professional’ firms will charge a premium based upon reputation or the ‘complexity’ of taxes, leaving you paying quite a bit for people you didn’t even want to work with in the first place. Instead, it’s smarter to go after a team that reminds you of yourself, giving a breath of fresh air to understanding accounting and how it can help your business grow.
Want an accountant that supports your mission?
Your financial wellbeing is only part of the equation. Stand firm knowing your accountants back your organizations values, goals, and team, too.
What types of experience do you see yourself having?
Finally, the type of experience you envision yourself having will be the ultimate cursor to what you should be looking for. Depending on how often you’ve worked with an accountant before or just jetted from TurboTax, many firms will leave you unanswered and left hanging for months at a time…all the while charging you an arm and a leg. To avoid this, ask what type of response times they have on average, as well as what their availability is like; in fact, in might not even be bad idea to have them tell you some personal stories. Ultimately, you’re stuck with this person for at least a year, which means vetting them just like they’re a candidate for a job at your company is the best approach to ensure you’re getting the best service possible.