Whether you’re a sole trader or a director of a limited company, you want an accountant who is reliable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. After all, you’re entrusting them with the finer details of your financial operations. The right accountant can help with everything from submitting your self-assessment tax returns accurately to filing VAT returns and managing your payroll.
But how do you find the right local accountant for your business? While large accounting firms may seem like an obvious choice, hiring a local accountant offers a range of benefits. A local accountant is not only more convenient, but they typically have a stronger grasp of the local business landscape. As such, they can often provide more nuanced advice to meet your needs.
In this blog, we’ll cover the key factors you should consider when hiring a local accountant, including qualifications, experience, expertise and whether you can visualise working with them. We’ll also discuss common mistakes to avoid and provide tips on how to build a strong working relationship with your accountant.
Read on for IN Accountancy’s advice on how to find and hire the right local accountant for you.
The Benefits Of A Local Accountant
Hiring a local accountant offers various benefits. One of the most significant advantages is that local accountants typically have an in-depth and innate understanding of the local business landscape, which means they can help you to identify opportunities for growth and expansion.
Furthermore, hiring a local accountant comes with the obvious advantage of accessibility. Choosing an accountant who is located nearby makes it easier to meet them in person, which can be particularly helpful if you prefer face-to-face communication or need to provide them with physical documents from time to time.
You may also find that a local accountant offers greater availability to answer your questions and provide support when you need it most.
Qualifications And Experience
It almost goes without saying (but bears repeating) that you should always check your potential accountant’s qualifications and experience. Look for a certified accountant who holds a recognised industry qualification, such as Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA), Associate Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) or Chartered Tax Advisors (CTA)
You should also check that they have experience working with businesses or individuals like you, paying close attention to their Google reviews and testimonials.
Of course, price shouldn’t be the sole comparator in your search for a suitable accountant. However, it’s likely to be an important factor, especially in the current climate. So it’s worth bearing in mind that smaller firms located outside major cities tend to offer slightly more competitive rates than their inner city counterparts.
Shop around and, where possible, try to compare the fees of local practitioners to get a feel for the ‘going rate’ in your area. That way, you can approach potential firms with your eyes wide open when it comes to negotiating fees.
But do remember that you usually get what you pay for – service, price, speed and quality are all inextricably linked – if you want a lower fee, you are likely to sacrifice speed, quality or service, so be clear on what is most important to you.
There’s a lot to be said for having an accountant who takes an interest in you, your family and your business. With a local accountant by your side, you’re much more likely to forge a working relationship with a single point of contact – potentially over many years. That provides a level of trust and understanding that cannot be underestimated, enabling your accountant to deliver a much more holistic, tailored service that you can depend upon.
Common Mistakes To Avoid
Knowing how to hire an accountant is only half the story. It can also be just as instructive to understand how not to hire an accountant. If you can avoid some of the common pitfalls many people fall into, you naturally stand to benefit from a much smoother experience all round.
For instance, as we mentioned earlier, one of the single biggest mistakes is to choose an accountant based solely on price. While price is important, it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. Far from it, in fact. Knowing that you’re working with an experienced, competent accountant that feels like a good fit for you and your business is worth far more than any perceived monetary savings in the long run.
Another common mistake is failing to ask for references and check reviews or testimonials. Many accountancy firms have a digital footprint that enables you to gauge the experiences of other clients in minutes.
The obvious place to start is the firm’s own website for testimonials and case studies. But cast the net wider to check any reviews, such as via Google Reviews or on Trustpilot. It can also be a useful exercise to check their credentials on Unbiased and the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Services Register.
Building A Strong Relationship
Building a strong working relationship with your accountant is crucial to achieving your financial goals. It’s important to communicate openly and regularly with them and to provide all the information they need to do their job effectively. You should also be prepared to take their advice and act on it.
A good accountant does more than simply ‘crunch the numbers’, and can help you to make informed financial decisions that allow you to grow your business and wealth.
Is A Local Accountant Best For You?
The key takeaway in working out how to hire an accountant is to take your time and do your research. Don’t rush into a decision based solely on cost, as the cheapest option may not always be the best choice.
Look for an accountant who has the necessary qualifications, experience, and expertise to meet your specific needs. Check their reviews and credentials, and be sure to visit their offices to get a feel for how they and their wider team operate.
Working with a local accountant can provide many benefits, including personalised attention, local knowledge, and quite often faster response times. It’s essential to build a strong working relationship with your accountant to ensure effective communication and trust, which can often be easier to establish with an accountant on your doorstep.
By avoiding common mistakes and taking the time to choose the right accountant for you, you can gain peace of mind that your financial matters are in good hands.
Choose IN Accountancy For Local Expertise
If you’re looking for a reliable and knowledgeable local accountant in Stockport, Hazel Grove, Bramhall, Poynton, Cheadle Hulme, South Manchester, Cheshire or further afield, IN Accountancy’s team has years of experience in the accounting industry to our name, providing comprehensive services tailored to your needs. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, attention to detail and outstanding customer service.
To find out more about our accountancy services, contact us today. We would be delighted to discuss how we can help you achieve your financial goals and provide the support you need to thrive. Whether you’re a sole trader or partnership, a limited company, or you’re looking for help with a personal tax return, we have a solution for all your small business needs.