WHAT MAKES A GOOD LOCAL ACCOUNTANT?

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Accountants are no longer considered simply to be money counters or bookkeepers; they are an integral independent part of a company’s senior team, providing in-depth financial analysis to benefit a company’s profits. Often people feel that ‘experienced’ is synonymous with ‘good’ when it comes to accounting. However, experience is not necessarily positive if it entails many years of applying the same tired principles with every client. What’s valuable is an accountant who can adapt their approach to each client and the changing financial landscape. The ability to innovate from convention is essential for the effective development of your company. Good, local accountants work for successful businesses. If you are hiring an accountant to positively enhance your company then make sure you do your homework – check that their business is successful and their clients’ businesses are also prospering.

Innovation is also necessary in regards to refining and implementing the latest technology and software. When looking at employing a local company, instead of the global powerhouses, some may fear that ‘local’ also means ‘out-dated’. However, this is not true. A good local accountancy firm will invest in the latest and best software, such as Xero, QuickBooks and Sage. Local independent firms are able to pick and choose the most useful tools for their needs and they understand that remaining knowledgeable is a constant learning process. Keeping updated on the latest developments and improvements to software is what you want from a good local accountant. With this knowledge your accountant also needs the gumption to apply it.

The ever changing tax rules means that a good accountant will ensure that they are up to speed with all the latest developments and changes in tax and will ensure that these complex set of rules will be applied in the correct manner to your business.

Independency

A ‘yes’ man is not who you need. You need someone who cares about your company’s ventures and is prepared to take the extra initiative to achieve success and say ‘no’ when necessary. The job requires us to tell you the truth, regardless of what you want to hear. We digest the information provided by the client and assist with the production of a suitable, sustainable business plan. This plan should then allow the company to go from strength to strength. It’s not a matter of simply maintaining the business; they must also add value. This usually involves innovative yet simple ways to save your company money or make money. For example the tax structure proposed should be the simplest, but most tax effective, structure which takes into account the profits and losses of the company. Independent local accountancy firms are not restricted by the mechanics of global companies and so they can find the best plan for you, even if it is not a standard solution.

Relationship

A good accountant knows what they are talking about, but more importantly they express it in a way that you can understand. An accountant who spouts technical terms and talks condescendingly of plans and projections is not going to become a trusted confidant of your business. Effective communication is imperative to building a dynamic and positive relationship with your accountant.

One of the most important attributes of a good local accountant is their trustworthiness. With large global firms, smaller clients may feel that they can get lost amongst the masses. Local accountancy firms prioritise every client and assess them as an individual with unique needs. Good local accountants understand the need to communicate effectively with their clients. From the outset, open discussions of the services you want and need should be made clear, whether it’s basic data entry or a full service package that you require.

As financial experts, accountants also understand the necessity to be transparent with pricing from the beginning. They should explain all charges from the offset and aim to offer a payment plan that works for you, such as fixed fees or monthly instalments. Fair payment structures are crucial to a successful relationship with your accountant. To improve relationships they should be proactive in helping you. They should take the initiative and offer advice without being asked and ask the necessary questions to understand your needs. This then allows them to create an appropriate business plan for your company. Therefore, with a trusting relationship, your business will thrive.

Accessibility

A good accountant will be easily contactable. The best-equipped member of the accountancy firm will be allocated to your business and they will contact you to inform you of upcoming deadlines that they are dealing with on your behalf. At Rosscot the directors will make themselves available out of hours if your business needs them. The best local accountants are driven to provide the support you need in both the good times and the bad. An unreachable accountant is of course useless.

Passion

The stereotype of an accountant may not be changing. However, many accountants would not fulfil the general characterisation – except perhaps possessing a love of numbers. A balance sheet to us is not a thing to fear. Good local accountants become devoted members of your team. They are passionate about finding the best way to make your company profitable and therefore its vital you make the right choice of accountant from inception.