Selecting the right accounting firm to partner with your on your business journey is critically important. The right accountant will become a trusted ally you can depend on, who offers advice and guidance as your small business grows.
It's in your company’s best interests to have an experienced and accountant handling your finances. The right person will save you time and money continuously. Here are some tips for choosing the right accounting firm.
Ask the right questions
It’s important to know what you need and to take the time to select your accountant carefully. Firstly, you need to understand the kind of work or responsibilities you want the accountant to handle for your business. You'll need to think about issues such as the accountant's availability, the workload, payment and the type of accounting software you want to use.
Certification of accounting firms in South Africa
Accounting companies in South Africa are regulated by professional bodies which look after accounting qualifications and maintain high professional standards. If you want your company to grow, you should hire a professional accountant. While tasks such as bookkeeping and tax services might not require a certified accountant, you want someone with experience and expertise to add value to your business.
Accounting firms’ expertise
It is important to make sure the accountant you select has worked with businesses similar to yours. If they have been working for clients from a specific industry for a long time, accountants get to know the related challenges very well. This will ensure they understand your business’s needs. In general, you don’t want a one-man-band, you need a larger firm with various areas of expertise so problems can be solved in creative ways by more than one person.
Choose someone who is proactive about saving money
While most accounting firms in South Africa take care of your finances, accounts and taxes, you need an accountant who is proactive about saving you money. You need an accountant with the relevant legal knowledge to ensure you are saving money in legal ways because, if you break the law, you will be liable for penalties. Ask prospective accounting firms how they suggest to save your business money.
Tech-savvy accounting companies
You may find some accountants who use outdated accounting software. They do not want to switch to the latest online accounting solutions. With the fourth industrial revolution in mind, you will want an accountant who keeps up with the latest developments in the industry.
Accounting software: cloud accounting is the future
Ideally, you want to use the same accounting software as your accountant. This will save time and prevent issues with sharing data. Do proper research to make sure you’re using market-leading software that’s safe and easy to use. If you use cloud accounting software, make sure your sensitive financial data is suitably encrypted. Also make sure the online accounting software you use can integrate with other systems you use.
Transparent accounting services
Make sure you have clarity about what your accountant is doing. You should regularly ask for reports and feedback. Ideally, you are looking for an accountant working on a live system so you can remain up to date at all times.
Contract and fees
Not every accountant or accounting firm charges the same fee for its services. Ensure you know exactly what you are paying for and find out which services are not included in the standard fee. It is best to pay a fixed fee and not bind yourself to an extended contract.
Location isn’t everything, thanks to cloud accounting
Because of online and cloud accounting services, it is no longer necessary to be located close to your accountant. With cloud accounting, you and your accountant can view the same real-time data at the same time, anywhere in the world. Ask yourself if it is necessary to find someone in the same city as your business or can you collaborate via email, phone calls, video-conferences, and secure accounting software.
Ask other business owners about the accounting services they use. A recommendation from your friends, family or peers can go a long way in helping you choose the right accountant. Ask other business owners about their experience of working with their accountant and get an idea of the budget required.