Accounting is one of the most fundamental services that your business needs; most companies at some point decide to use a dedicated accountant to manage their financial affairs. When you look at the broad spectrum, you may realise that hiring an accountant will enable you to concentrate more on your line of enterprise and to get customised accounting services.

Research from the US Federal Government SBA Advocacy shows that there were 27.9 million small businesses in the country. A related research showed that over 680,000 businesses were wound down in comparison to 515,000 that were started in the financial crisis of 2008. One underlying factor for survival in such times was expert accounting. Being such a critical need of your firm, there are vital questions to ask when you are recruiting. We’ve listed some things we think it’s very important to include when reviewing accountants.

Tell me about yourself.

This question will give you an insight into the trustworthiness of an individual. For this question to be meaningful to your hiring session, you should have conducted a background research by contacting one of their referees or done some dig ups on the internet just to get a preview of who exactly you are dealing with.

Study both the verbal and nonverbal cues just to be sure that the person’s integrity is impeccable and they are honest with their answers. Your findings should be congruent with their statements. The essence of this question is to ensure that you get an accountant who will not defraud you down the line.

What are your qualifications?

You already have the details of the education and accountancy qualifications. This question will enable you to get the perspective of the interviewee on how their educational qualifications can be utilized in the real world of business. Ensure that you direct the conversation to relate the education to your business standpoint.

A person who is relevant to your needs is the best pick, but most importantly, the academic qualifications should enable your accountant to represent you at an HMRC audit hearing if need be.

What advice can you offer to grow my business?

Your accountant should be in a position to understand your ambitions, targets, and aspirations. You should have the individual offer an advice to optimize your revenues such as in selecting the latest accounting software, doing away with paperwork, etc. The individual should offer advice, personal insights or even differ with you on some opinions.

What is your expected earning?

The answer that you get will give you a sneak preview of how the accountant values the service. You have to ensure that what you promise is within the budget. Furthermore, when you settle on a price after negotiation, explain to the accountant the logic behind your decision and confirm whether he/she agrees.  

Why should I offer you this work?

This question requires a logical and energetic answer and not just a shrug. If the potential accountant doesn’t give you a compelling argument as to why you should employ them then don’t.

Do you have any references?

You should find out how the accountant has been performing when working in other companies and especially those in the same industry as yours. This will give you the peace of mind of knowing that the person you are hiring will carry out the tasks you expect them to do efficiently.

Which accounting systems or programs would you advise me to implement?

Accounting systems or programs are essential in every business today because they can help in minimizing the errors that are common in record keeping. You should ensure that the accountant you are about to hire knows how to use the systems that your firm is currently using. The individual may have their own suggestions of programs they are most familiar with.

What will you do to help me prepare for tax period?

Your new accountant should make it their priority to help you avoid the end of the year rush. They should be in a position to assist you all the year round to collect accounting documents that will be necessary during the tax filing period and keep you up to speed whenever new tax laws are passed that could affect your business.

These are the most important questions to ask, and will give you a clear picture of how competent your accountant-to-be is. Here at Neil Smith Accountancy, we provide first class accounting services to businesses large and small as well as sole traders; our friendly team will be glad to answer any questions you have, why not get in touch today?