Choosing the right accountant can be a very daunting task for small business owners.  It is sometimes difficult to gauge their understanding of taxation, business law, and overall knowledge of running a small business.  The best thing to do is choose an accountant or CPA that focusses on small business before you decide to make an appointment.

Another thing to consider is the size of the accounting firm.  You will not want to be simply one in millions of clients.  It may be a better idea to look for a smaller accounting firm to ensure that they are focused on your best interests and that they actually have time to spend helping you.  They also probably know more about the small business industry, because they are also a small business.

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What business legal structure would be best for my business?
  • Can you help me when it comes to finding finance options for my business?
  • Can you help me set up a cash flow forecast?
  • Am I in a good position to start trading, or should I wait a while?
  • How should I go about choosing a financial year-end date and a trading year end date?
  • Will you handle my accounting and bookkeeping work?
  • Will you work with me so that I know what is going on with the progress of my business?
  • Will you help me when it comes to pensions, insurances, annuities, and other employment issues?
  • Will you help me with understanding things for myself?
  • Will you give me advice when needed?

These are just a few of the questions that should be asked.  There are definitely other things to consider as well.  If the accountant is tried and true and has successfully helped other businesses that are a lot like yours, then chances are they will be able to help you as well.

The biggest thing to ask yourself is whether or not you trust the accountant enough to work with them for a long time.  If you don’t feel that you can do this, then you don’t want to go any further.  An accountant should work with you and advise you, not pressure you to make decisions that you don’t want to make about your business.

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