HOW TO CHOOSE AN ACCOUNTANT

Whether you are starting your first business or taking your self-employment to the next level, choosing an accountant is a vital step to assure your future success. Instead of picking the first Google search result for “accountant,” use this guide to make certain that you are handing your books over to the right people.

What To Look For

While all accountants need knowledge, an excellent reputation is the most essential feature of any accountant. Whether by word of mouth, Yelp review, or a referral list from a professional association (such as the Chartered Accountants of Alberta), it is important to limit your search to accountants that are well known for good work.  Once you have assessed your own business’ needs, compare them with the size and scope of your potential accountant. An accountant or accounting firm with a similar size and structure to your own business is a good starting point to further narrow your search.

Questions To Ask

Once you have shortlisted a handful of potential accounting candidates, set up a series of personal meetings to compare and contrast their strengths and weaknesses. In these meetings, determine how well the accountant matches your needs and make sure to note the following:

  • Are you licensed?  There are three types of licensed accountant: chartered accountants (CA), certified management accountants (CMA), and certified general accountants (CGA). Each certification has a different educational background and varied expertise.
  • What will you do for me? Some accountants merely review the in-house bookkeeping of a business, though many are often relied upon to advise business decisions and risk management. Find out what your potential accountant expects to contribute to your business and ensure that it aligns with your own expectations.
  • What do we have in common? Probe your potential accountant for his attitude towards things that matter to you and your business. Is technology the cornerstone of your company? Inquire about your accountant’s familiarity with digital storage or social networking. Looking to aggressively build your business? Find out how your accountant would safeguard you financially.

Make use of these tips to choose the right accountant or accounting firm for your business. Finding the right fit and you will maximize your ability to build a solid foundation and grow it into a sustained success.