How to choose the right accountant for your small business

How to choose the right accountant for your small business

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Accountants can vary as much as men’s moustaches and kale smoothies in Vancouver. So how do you pick the right one?

Well my friend, I am glad you asked.

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself when choosing an accountant for your small business:

Are they qualified?

Until recently, accountants could have three different designations: Chartered Accountant, Certified General Accountant and Certified Management Accountant.

They’ve now all merged into one glorious designation called the CPA – Chartered Professional Accountant.

If you’ve found an accountant you want to work with, it’s a good idea to check that his/her CPA license is legit by calling the CPA organization to verify it.

What system do they use?

You can choose between cloud accountants and paper accountants.

Cloud accountants have snazzy online systems. They automatically pull your financial information from your bank and place it into cloud accounting software for you, so you don’t have to manually enter in any financial data.

They also show you your financial information in real-time so you can make decisions based on what’s happening right now instead of what happened in the past.

Paper accounting on the other hand, is quite out dated as it is time intensive to use and are more prone to human error.

How do they charge?

Some accountants charge per hour and others charge a flat fee based on the service chosen.

In the accounting world, it’s pretty easy for accountants to charge a fixed fee as they know how long services take to carry out. Accountants charging a fixed fee can also help the client budget accordingly for the rest of their expenses.

Charging by hour on the hand can be a little more complicated. If clients are charged for extras such as phones calls, advice etc. they may receive a bigger bill than they are expecting.

How do you feel around them?

Like any relationship, it’s important to like your accountant.

When you are meeting with potentials, notice how you feel around them. Are you able to have a transparent and honest conversation with them? Do you enjoy spending time with them? Are they responsive to you via email and phone?

Business relationships should always feel good. If they don’t, something is off.

How did you find them?

One of the easiest ways to find good people, is to ask good people where you can find more good people.

Ask trusted resources like business associates, a mentor, LinkedIn contacts or your dog’s hairdresser’s sister if they can suggest a great accountant. This way you increase your chances of finding potentials that are reliable and good at what they do.

If you are looking for cloud accountants that offer fixed pricing and are super nice, contact us now for a free consultation.

(Image credit: BigStock/RaStudio)

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