Five Factors to Consider When Selecting an Accounting Firm
Whether to start a small business or make adjustments for changes in tax laws, choosing an accounting firm can be an overwhelming task. To prevent important details from slipping through the cracks, make sure to consider the following when selecting a one.
Having an amazing accounting staff that simultaneously bankrupts the company is nonsensical. Although higher-end firms can come with higher price tags, this isn’t always the case. Fees should be one of the first things to consider when trying to find the right fit. It’s also important to analyze charges. For example, some may charge per task, such as filing a 1040 personal income tax form or preparing a statement of net worth, and others may charge by the minute.
Some accounting firms may seem attractive on paper, but it’s important that they put their money where their mouth is. A good way to ensure that one is qualified to perform the tasks it offers is to determine whether they have received certifications for said tasks. A company that mostly or exclusively employs CPAs (certified public accountants) will generally be more trustworthy than one who doesn’t.
Finding the right fit only to discover that their availability is low is an inefficient use of time. Although some bigger agencies can afford to take on more clients, some spread themselves too thin and can’t offer all of their clients the same amount of time and attention. One can generally determine the availability of a firm by trying to schedule an appointment or attempting to reach them by phone. If either of these is difficult at any point in the process, it may be a red flag.
There’s a reason why employers ask for references when interviewing potential employees, and the process should be the same when selecting an accounting firm. Even if an option has the right qualifications, hearing from other companies or individuals who have worked with them in the past can clarify whether or not they are as efficient as they appear to be. Contacting business associates who have worked with them can be a good way to see if any strong impressions were made through their clients, whether good or bad.
Although it may seem like an afterthought, being able to build a personal connection with an accounting firm is especially important, considering they will be handling highly important and often sensitive materials. It’s important to find a business that cares about its clients as more than simply a bottom line. The contact person should be comfortable being candid about their services as well as the finances of the company. Any sense of intimidation or miscommunication that may lead to complications down the line is a sign that a different choice may be a better fit.
Choosing the right accounting firm may be a difficult task, but it’s worth putting in the time and effort to ensure that it will benefit the company in the long run.