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Posted 23/11/2016


Whether you need an accountant for business or personal reasons, the tricky part is choosing one who’s the right fit for you.  A great starting point can be an accountant referred by a friend or contact, but do remember that everyone’s circumstances are different and an accountant who’s a good match for one isn’t necessarily a good match for all.  To help you out, here are our six things to consider when choosing the accountant who’ll be perfect for you:

Any good accountant should provide basic compliance services, including self assessment tax returns, statutory accounts, corporation tax returns, VAT returns, P11D’s etc.   Depending on your circumstances this range of basic services could be more than adequate, and generally speaking the simpler your requirements, the cheaper the service.  However, bear in mind that if your situation changes you may want an accountant who can adapt with you.  Finding one who also specialises in complex tax planning and financial management services will give you the flexibility to expand the support you receive in the future.

The size of a firm can have a significant impact on your personal relationship with your accountant.  If you’d like to work solely with one individual accountant then you need to be sure that he or she is very readily accessible, has sufficient expertise and that you get on! You may prefer an accountant within a small team, where there’s a balance of younger, progressive thinkers and highly experienced professionals.  The key is to receive all-round client support, whilst retaining a personal relationship with your accountant.  Everyone’s requirements are unique, and it’s important to feel that you’re a name and not just a number.

Many accountants specialise in a particular industry sector.  They may work in a large firm with different departments each focusing on a different business group, such as dentists, charities or retail.  Or their entire firm may work solely with one industry, such as creative agencies. You need to decide if you’re seeking a firm which provides this type of very niche offering, or if you prefer to work with an accountant who can draw on a broad range of experience gained from working across a wide variety of industry sectors.

In April 2018, HMRC will be implementing a scheme called ‘Making Tax Digital’, which will require individuals and businesses to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and to update HMRC at least once a quarter via a personalised digital tax account.  So when you’re choosing an accountant make sure that they are forward thinking and digitally robust.  Check that they offer at least one form of cloud accounting service as well as an online client portal, as this means they’ll be in a strong position to help you make a seamless transition to Making Tax Digital when the time comes.

No one likes a nasty surprise when it comes to paying fees.  Some firms will offer a range of structured price packages, delivering a fixed list of services for a set monthly fee.  Others will offer a more tailored solution so you only pay for the services you need.  Whether you go for a fixed package or a more flexible option, always be sure you have a full understanding of the exact services which are included for the fees you’re being charged, and agree these fees in advance of any work beginning.

In today’s digital age geography is no longer an issue, and you can deal almost as effectively with an accountant based the other side of the country as you can with one who’s just down the road.  If you’re comfortable using online software, transferring documents via the internet and communicating via webcam then why not consider working with a digital savvy accountant based remotely to you?  Or if you prefer the idea of building a face to face relationship with a more local accountant, check they offer parking or they’re based close to public transport links.

We hope this helps in your search for the right accountant. At Paish Tooth we’re happy to chat through all your requirements and help you decide if our firm would be a good match for you.

Happy hunting!


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