Choosing the right part-time accountant for your SME

Choosing the right accountant for your SMEChoosing an accountant is like choosing a new business partner. The right accountant will become a trusted colleague you can depend on, who offers advice and guidance as your small business grows. So what are the top things you need to look out for when hiring a part-time accountant?

It’s important to take the time to do this carefully, and there are a few things you’ll want to consider first. You’ll need to think about issues such as the accountant’s location, the division of workload and the type of accounting software you’ll use. Consider how much you’ll have to pay the accountant, and whether they can help to reduce your business taxes.

1. Interview them like any other applicant

The process of looking for a part-time accountant for your company should be a high priority on your to-do list when starting up. It’s imperative that the accountant you hire has the capacity to fully understand how your business operates and the financial management support you might need. To begin, you need to look for an accountant who already has experience working for an operating firm. Treat this exercise as seriously as if you were looking for another type of employee.

Due to the nature of the accountant’s responsibilities, you need to interview candidates that have a good level of experience and are fully qualified by a recognisable authority or institution e.g. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Remember at the most basic level, an under qualified and inexperienced accountant may fail to inform you, as the business owner, around all the areas you need to know about to make the company financially viable. By hiring the wrong candidate, this decision could cost you greatly in the long-term.

2. Run a check with national accounting institutions

Take the same process as if you were interviewing for another member of staff, complete a full background check of the candidate to ensure their credentials are authentic. As part of the vetting procedure, you should always contact past employers to run fact-checks against the candidate’s career experience, certifications and qualifications.

In accountancy positions, recruiting candidates who have qualifications from professional institutions and body’s, such as The Association of International Accountants, means there are processes in place if they give you poor advice that could cost your business money. Institutions can cover these associated costs if this were to happen.

3. Find an accountant that’s driven & hands on

As the business owner, you’ll need to conduct your own research around the scope of the accountant’s responsibilities, which can be broad and in return great for your company. Many business owners have misguided views around what an accountant is actually responsible for.

Most believe they’re in charge of handling yearly accounts and tax-related responsibilities – this is not the case. Accountants perform a multitude of different tasks that help businesses grow, including supporting business owners find funding grants, investors, as well as identifying tax relief programs.

Good accountant’s help companies grow, by managing complex financial work and offering advice on practical business issues. This will be guaranteed to save you money in the short and long term. It’s in your company’s best interests to have an experienced, capable person handling one of the most important areas of your business – your finances. The right person will save you time and money year after year.

If you’re interested in hearing more around how our experienced, part-time accounting professionals can help to manage your company’s finances, get in touch with the EFM Ireland team. Email or call 01442 8176 for your free one hour consultation.