4 things to look for when choosing your next accountant

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that location has never been less important. You can now achieve anything, anywhere – being unable to always get people in the same room is no barrier.

When choosing an accountant, locality used to be near the top of the list. In the days of written records, businesses would turn up at their local accountant’s office with all their invoices, receipts, bank statements etc. It was often an accountant’s nightmare…

But, since things have gone digital, all that information can be submitted electronically. It’s estimated that at least half of firms in the UK have adopted accounting software, while the rest use a combination of Excel spreadsheets and manual records. But the latter are very much a dying breed.

What this means is that SMEs no longer have to stick with their local accountant. Instead of making a decision based on postcode, you can pick an accountant based on the service they provide. But if locality is no longer a criterion on which to judge an accountancy firm, what is?

1. Service offering

Those local, one-man-band accountants, as great as they are, simply can’t compare with the bigger firms on service offering.

With greater resources, expertise and, crucially, time, they can offer everything from year-end tax returns to a tailored tax strategy – ensuring you’re not just fully compliant, but that you’re maximising your benefits.

A larger accountant will also stand by your side should you look to sell or buy a business, helping you get the very best deal possible.

2. Growth solutions

Every business wants to grow and bring more money into the coffers. Realising those ambitions can depend on your choice of accountant.

A well-connected accountancy firm will be able to provide you with access to the entire financial marketplace and advise on a range of finance facilities.

At the same time, they’ll proactively identify where you can make savings through process improvement, cost optimisation and supplier selection.

3. Technology

Like it or not, we’re now well and truly down the path to everything becoming digital. But technology can be bewildering, with thousands of apps promising to save time and make life easier.

The good news is that national accountancy firms can make adopting technology easy for you. Find yourself an accountant who will be able work out what’s standing in your way, build you a customised solution, and ensure you get the training you need to feel confident with your software and app stack.

You don’t need to become an expert. It might just be a case of being able to upload and export your invoices. Your accountant will take care of the rest.

4. Support

As we’ve seen over the last couple of years, sometimes it’s impossible to predict what’s coming down the line which will unsettle your business.

From the furlough scheme to government-backed loans, during the pandemic, firms were challenged to quickly make sense of the financial incentives available to them and maximise their value.

Typically, these types of schemes aren’t worded in a way to make interpretation easy for business directors. That’s where a good accountant can come in, to offer bespoke support with business planning and cash flow management.

The survival of your company might rely on that kind of expert guidance one day.

HB&O has offices in both Coventry and Leamington Spa. But we work with businesses from across the UK and across the globe. Virtually or in person, we will stand with you side-by-side as you navigate the ups and downs of running a business.

Get in touch today to get a better understanding of how we can add value to your business.

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