Business woman at working with financial reports and laptop computer in the office

Top Tips When Choosing a Successful Accounting Practice

The Right Accountancy Support Adds Power to Your Business

Choosing an accountant is one of the most important decisions for a small business. Get it right, and you will have a valuable ally and partner.

For small businesses and start-ups, sorting out the finances is often seen as a cumbersome side-issue. It is something that has to be done, but that business owners and managers are more than happy to delegate or outsource to someone who understands the ins and outs of finance, so that they can get on with the day to day running of the business.

It is a philosophy that makes a certain amount of sense. After all, one of the rules of modern business is to focus on your core skills and outsource peripheral functions to those who do these things for a living. Yet when it comes down to it, every business has the primary purpose of making money, so the role of the accountant is one that it would be dangerous to underestimate. To take one of the country’s most important small business hubs as an example, there are numerous accountants in Peterborough. How can a small business in the city be sure it is making the best choice?

The right expertise

In this day and age, we all know enough to ensure we are working with finance professionals who are properly accredited and regulated. However, simply checking that the firm is a member of ACCA or similar only tells half the story. A small business, particularly one that has only recently started up, has very different needs to a larger, more established organisation.

Look for a firm that has experience in dealing with companies of a similar size and structure, that way you can be confident they will understand and be able to pre-empt some of the challenges you will undoubtedly be facing.

Location, location

Modern communication platforms mean we can have virtual meet ups with people anywhere in the world, and that physical location is not as important a factor as it once was. Be cautious, however, when it comes to taking this approach to extremes. For one thing, whatever anyone says, there is still no substitute for a face to face meeting. For another, finance and taxation are at something of a crossroads in terms of hard and soft data. By appointing a local accountant, you have the comfort of knowing you can pop round for a chat any time and can easily drop off that mountain of paperwork if you have to!

Check you are compatible

There’s no need to compare astrological signs (unless that is particularly important to you), but when it comes to the digitisation of accounting, compatibility is key. Whether you have thousands of pounds worth of cutting-edge software or are simply using a basic spreadsheet, one of the first things you need to discuss with your potential accountant is your system, their system and compatibility between the two. If your current accounting practices are on the more old-fashioned side, keep an open mind and listen to suggestions. A system upgrade may be exactly what your business needs to stay competitive in 2019.

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Larry Walker

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