What to look for in an accountant

Accountants – there’s a lot of us in the UK. According to the latest figures from the Financial Reporting Council there are more than 342,000 UK members of the seven accountancy bodies.

That’s a huge amount considering the same report showed there were over 497,000 members of the same bodies worldwide – showing that the UK is almost over-subscribed when it comes to accountants.

With so many out there it can be understandably difficult for businesses and the self-employed to decide who they should trust their accounts with. So what should firms, start-ups and individuals be looking out for?

Here, we offer our top tips on choosing your accountant.

Accreditations count

As with most professions, accountants have a number of bodies representing their trade. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) are among the most well-known and both have their own set of regulations, standards and guidelines that members are expected to adhere to.

To become a member, accountants have to be accredited by the bodies, which involves demonstrating their competency and experience. 

So choosing an accountant that is accredited, or certified, by either of these bodies is an easy first step to establishing their efficiency and proficiency.

Ask your friends

If you have acquaintances, friends or family members who are in business talk to them about the accountants and/or firms that they use. There is no better recommendation than one that comes from word of mouth and friends are going to provide non-biased opinions. 

Social media and business networks are an excellent way of furthering your company’s profile but you can also tap into these rich information supplies to help inform your choice of accountant. 

Twitter hours – through which businesses in a particular area network via a location hashtag ie: #kenthour – are a great way of joining a conversation, and getting advice from fellow local companies.

Meet them face to face

Like an estate agent or a solicitor, don’t be afraid of shopping around for the right accountant. Speak to, and arrange to meet, two or three before making a decision. 

Aim to meet them face to face – most accountants will be keen to do the same with a new client – so you can get to know them, their ethos and working practices. Do they schedule regular calls with their clients? Are they available outside office hours if you have an urgent enquiry? Do they offer a support service for start-ups?

An accountant is someone you will be working with closely so it’s important they understand your business needs and goals, and you are mutually a good match so you can maximise the relationship.

Experience is everything

If you’re a large company with a six-figure annual turnover, you’ll want an accountant which is used to dealing with these kind of numbers. 

On the other hand, if you’re a new company and embarking on your first financial year, you’ll want an accountant that can support you on your business journey, answering questions you may have along the way and freely offering advice.

At Perrys we pride ourselves on our exceptional, personal service. We take the time to get to know your company inside and out so we have a clear understanding of your needs, and are focussed on helping you meet future goals.

Our services cover all areas of tax planning and through our years of experience we are adept at supporting businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to established SMEs.

If you are looking for an accountant in Kent or London please fill in our contact form and we can arrange a free and informal meeting, where you can find out more about how we can help you and your business.