How to find an accountant to help with your small business finances

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Owning and running a small business can be a relentless endeavour – with things moving at a million miles an hour, owners can sometimes make decisions on a whim due to a lack of time. This is where a certified accountant can help with the financial management of your small business.

 

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Five tips for business owners

Accountants can often be the trusted advisors of small business owners, so how does an owner choose an accountant to help with small business finances? Here are some quick tips.

  Tip 1: Ask for their qualifications
In Australia, fully qualified accountants will need to undertake many years of study. This can include:
  • An undergraduate degree in accounting at a higher education institution
  • Membership of professional associations such as ‘Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia’ or ‘Certified Practicing Accountant Australia’.

Note: Members of these associations must meet the minimum standards of the association through extensive study and workplace experience.

  Tip 2: Determine if the accountant is registered
There is the Federal Government tax and BAS agent register that small business owners can use to check and search for accountants. The Tax Practitioners Board website has some helpful tips on how to find a registered accountant.
  Tip 3: Check if the accountant meets the requirements of your business needs
Consider asking questions around the type of services they offer. Accountants are many and varied; it is beneficial to select one that meets your specific small business needs1. For example, you may require a specialist small business tax account to help you navigate through the financial obligations for end of financial year activities.
  Tip 4: Make sure that customer service lives up to your expectations
Generally, a good accountant will provide good service. Does your accountant answer and return phone calls? Does your accountant respond to emails promptly? If an accountant is going to be a trusted advisor, they will need to meet your client service expectations.
  Tip 5: Accounting fees
How will your accountant charge you for their services, and when? Fee structures from one accountant to another can vary.  Whether it is hourly, fixed-fee or a monthly retainer that suits your business; it is a decision that will need to be made based on your business’ needs.

In Summary

Getting to the point where you need an accountant to help with your small business finances can be a good thing. Your business may be growing and the future seems bright – in any case, a certified professional account will have the skills and experience to take some of the load in managing your small business finances.

 

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Sources:

1 Xero, Small Business Guides, 'How to choose the right accountant'.