Are you a Contractor? How to select the right accountant
Choosing the right accountant is the first and most crucial step to ensuring the success of your business.
Without a good accountant you may well feel that you’ve made a huge mistake becoming a contractor and starting your own limited company, but with a good accountant, your new venture will be virtually hassle-free, leaving you to spend time marketing and expanding your company.
Finding a good accountant can be daunting and challenging. Below are a few things that we recommend you look out for.
- Referral is a good way to find a reliable supplier: ask a friend, colleague or family member who their accountant is, and it is safe to assume that if they’re recommending their accountant to you, they will suit you also. But, there’s always a but …
- Choose a specialist: you do need an accountant that is specialist in contractor accounting. There is logic to this statement if you consider, for example, that if you have a heart problem you would go to a cardiologist, and not a general practitioner or orthopaedic specialist.
- Do not choose a one-man band because it is unlikely s/he will be able to provide the comprehensive service that is necessary to successfully undertake contractor accounting. You might argue that you would receive a personalised service with a one-man band, but that will probably not be possible either, because s/he will be swamped trying to provide everything that’s normally looked after by several specialist people in a reputable accountancy firm. All the services you require as a contractor should be available under the same roof, looked after by the appropriate specialist, and in that way you will receive the best service at the best price.
- Check the accountant’s website: like it or not, a company’s website is very important these days and does speak volumes about a company’s commitment to staying in touch with existing clients and attracting new ones. Much like a shop window, if the accountant’s website is poor, it may mean that the service they offer is generally not very good either.
- Check that there are no hidden charges and select an accountant that provides a transparent pricing policy that contains no "ifs" and "buts".
- Do not opt for either a part-qualified or non-qualified accountant, and always ask him or her if they are regulated and qualified. Assurance that you are dealing with professionals will at least give you peace of mind that you can expect the minimum standards of service.
- Do not select an accountant on the basis of price as the cheapest may well not be the best value: while it’s unwise to pay too much, it’s equally foolish to expect to pay too little. With an accountant, when you pay too much you may lose a little money, that is all, but when you pay too little, it’s possible that you could lose everything. Cheaper seldom means the best. We recommend that you never compromise on quality where accountancy is involved.