6 Steps to Finding an Accountant

A good accountant can have many functions aside from just taking care of your tax returns. Hiring a trustworthy and competent accountant can relieve you of certain financial stresses or problems you might otherwise encounter without proper accounting support. An accountant can be considered a valuable investment not just for big companies, but for small businesses and even your own personal finances as well. Just like any investment, you should make sure you are making the right choice when picking a professional. Below are six steps that can guide you through the process.

Ask around

Generally, you will have a better chance of finding a good accountant through referrals than by going through random listings. People who recommend their own accountants are probably happy with the service they are getting. If it is possible, ask an accountant's existing or former client about that person's performance and style of working, so you can consider whether these will suit you.

You can also check how many clients an accountant currently has. While it is a concern that the person might already be too busy to handle his duties to your business, consider too that an accountant who has a lot of clients is most likely a good and well-trusted one.

Make a shortlist

Find enough people to choose from. Have an initial meeting with a number of candidates so you can compare their qualifications, experiences, what they say they can offer, and even your first impressions of them. Meeting them in their own offices is also better than meeting them in yours. An accountant's place of work could reflect that person's personality and professionalism. From your candidates, choose a handful of accountants you think you can work with.

State expectations

It is better to be straightforward at the onset and tell candidate accountants what your expectations are. Also, hear out what they promise to deliver. At the first meeting, you can already ask what kind of workflow or style they normally have with their clients, to see if you can adopt the same.

Look for related experience

More than the number of years of practice, what you should look for in an accountant is their experience in the same or related field. In many cases, accountants who are experts in handling certain types of clients can also serve as business advisors. You can greatly benefit from someone who has enough knowledge of your kind of business.

Make a spontaneous call

Try to call an accountant during a busy time on a workday. If the person is unavailable at the time, see how long it takes him or her to call you back. This will give you an idea what kind of priority the accountant can give you as a client.

Take your time

Hiring an accountant is like going into a business deal. It might even be more critical since you will be sharing more information with your accountant than you would normally share with a client or partner company. Treat it like you would a potential long-term relationship-make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Avoid rushing into a decision you might regret. Changing accountants might prove more of a hassle than picking the right one from the very start.

Article Source:  http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=John_George_Cole, By John George Cole

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