In the early stages of a business formation, extra costs need to be considered carefully but it’s safe to say that you’ll need an accountant at some point. Although a good accountant isn’t cheap, the benefits they bring to your business can be immense. You can also manage the cost of an accountant by outsourcing your financial management elsewhere.
“There’s always a cost benefit issue with accountants and you need to be clear about what the cost will be,” says Paul Clements, principal of business advisory firm Clements Dunne & Bell. “Use accountants where you gain the most from them. Use bookkeepers and software packages like MYOB to reduce the volume of work for your accountant.”
Ideally, you’ll want an accountant who will provide more than just help with your tax. You’ll need someone who can provide sound advice on many elements of your company’s financial position, so look out for accountants who’ve had experience with small firms and provide extra expertise, such as audits.
Obviously, qualifications are a must. Keep an eye out for membership of bodies such as the CPA and find out what other clients they’ve worked for.
When interviewing an accountant, try to gauge how easily it will be to communicate with them if you hired them. Do they speak in jargon or will they provide you with easy to understand, practical information?
Once you’ve settled on your choice, work out the terms of their remuneration and create a contract that includes details of their duties and remit. Keep in regular contact with them for advice – it’s essential that you get the most out of your accountant.