By Steve Taggart, TLE Correspondent
Professional financial advice costs money, and hiring the wrong financial advisers could be a costly mistake. When deciding on an accountant, one of the first things you should consider is how much the service will set you back. As a small business owner, you can’t afford to squander your money.
Accountants charge for their services depending on what task is required of them. This could be determined by an hourly rate, a set fee for a particular piece of work, a monthly rate, or an ongoing fee for an ongoing service.
Consider what job you want them to do and how long you will require their services for. For instance, if it is a one-off task such as income tax returns or audited financial statement preparation, a set fee might be worth considering. If you would like an accountant for data entry, payroll processing or general bookkeeping, a monthly rate or ongoing fee would be more appropriate.
It is important to go into the initial meeting prepared: think about what you need from the accountant before sitting down with them. Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms with them, either. A financial advisor must tell their potential client how much their services would cost before taking them on.
What Credentials Do They Have
Since 2013, financial advisers are required by law to hold a QCF Level 4 qualification. Some financial advisers might have taken additional exams, so it is worth asking what qualifications they hold. These accreditations are evidence that they have a good understanding of business accounting and income tax. If still in doubt, you are able to confirm an accountant’s credentials on the FCA website.
Moreover, if the accountant is a member of a professional accounting institute, they are expected to abide by the code of professional ethics set by the institute. As well as this, they have to be insured to practice accountancy. Ask the accountant what institute they are a member of and contact them directly to learn more about the financial advisor as well as the institute’s own policies.
References and Recommendations
Ask other small business owners for advice on selecting an accountant. Professional references can inform you of any past issues or complaints, even if there was a disciplinary action taken against an accountant. Bear in mind that Financial Advisers maintain client confidentiality. If they give you a client to get in touch with, it is because the client themselves have offered to produce a reference. Alternatively, you can speak to other small business owners you might have met through networking or business exchanges. They can then suggest an accountant that would be suitable for your business.
This is a guest post by Chris Weston, Director of Aston Black Accountants in Milton Keynes UK. Chris has 25 years experience in accounting and loves helping small businesses thrive. Together with a small staff, Chris and the team at Aston Black deliver