There are so many things to keep in mind when at the helm of a company – be it a startup or a huge corporation. There are people to talk to, emails to send, papers to sign and smiles to keep. However, one of the more crucial things you need to devote your time and energy to is working with your trusted accountant. To help you out, here are 7 of the questions you need to ask them, to make sure things are running smoothly at all times.
1. Do you have experience in my industry?
This is undoubtedly the first and most important question to ask. No matter how experienced an accountant or an agency maybe, you need to make sure they are familiar with the specifics of your own industry. Accounting for a restaurant, a silicon valley startup and a chain of retail stores in not even remotely similar, and the person you onboard will need to know the ins and outs of your own line of business.
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2. Which services do you offer?
Not all accountants can offer all the services you may need. Some can help you with audits and taxes, others may not. Some are excellent at helping you find the right investment opportunities, while others specialize in certain narrow aspects of the industry. Before you start looking for an accountant, make a list of the services you will need, and start from that. Check out the accounting services of your desired agency, and go from there.
3. When can I contact you and how?
This may not seem like an important point, but it is a great thing to discuss early on. Your accountant may not be great at communication, even though they can be great at what they do, so setting up a clear way to reach each other can help you both immensely. Let them know you if you need weekly or monthly reports, and what you expect them to provide, and you will both know you have started out in the right manner. Find an appropriate communication channel as well, be it email, the phone or a chat app.
4. How often are your clients audited?
This is a great one to ask. First, if the accountant you are talking to an answer right away, you will know they keep regular track of their client’s affairs. You will also know how good they are at their job. Only about 1% of clients of the best accounting firms ever get audited, so this fact can tell you a lot about the way they conduct their business.
5. How will you help us during tax season?
Dealing with taxes is the number one reason to hire an accountant. Make it clear from the start when you will need to start tackling them, and how to make the process as painless as possible. Make sure you set out a clear timeline for the activities involved in tax season, and to allocate plenty of time for the task. Like we’ve said, most accountants are the busiest during tax season, so you should set up a schedule to take care of your own.
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6. How will you help our business grow?
There are accountants that only work during tax season, or work with companies of a specific size. If you need an accountant available at all times, and you want them to be there to help you capitalize on your growth, you need to make it clear to them that you will be in need of their services during the entire year. Ask them about the ideas they have for your particular scope of work.
7. What should I ask you?
Finally, this question can be of great use – your accountant should be able to tell you what you will need to know about their work, and how it will benefit your company. With their experience, they should be able to tell you some of the key points to bear in mind during your cooperation, and have a few pointers ready to keep things running smoothly for both sides.
Before you start working with an accountant, make sure to check out their portfolio, and make sure they are the right fit for you. They not only need to be good at their job, they need to mesh well with your company too. Hopefully, these seven questions will help you start a fruitful relationship.