A great accountant can be a godsend. Not only can they take the stress out of tax time, but they can turn into a trusted partner you can ask for year-round money and business advice. Here’s how you can find the right accountant for your tradie business.
Think before you search
Before you jump onto Google, sit down and have a think about exactly what it is you want and need from an accountant. Here are three key questions to ask yourself.
What do I want them to do?
You probably want them to help with your tax and related paperwork. But how involved are you willing to be in the process? For example, are you happy to do some of the heavy lifting yourself, for example, compiling expenses and receipts? Preparing these yourself can save you money and can be easily done using tools like QuickBooks Online. If your goal is to grow your business, you may also be looking for someone qualified to offer financial advice, not just number crunching.
What is my budget?
As a small business owner, money isn’t always free flowing, so you may prefer low-cost services. Smaller accounting firms and individuals may be able to offer you better rates. But be aware that cheap might not always get the best results.
Do I want someone local?
How important is it to you that you can meet your accountant in person? If you like dealing with people face-to-face, being able to catch up, and go over your books together, a long-distance arrangement might not be for you. If you’re happy to stick to phone and online communication, you can broaden your search – and potentially find a better fit for your needs. With tools like Skype and real-time accounting tools at your disposal, distance doesn’t have to be a barrier to a good working relationship.
Ask for recommendations
It’s usually a good idea to start a search by seeking recommendations from friends, family, and colleagues. If that doesn’t deliver the goods, it’s time to hit Google. Checking out firms’ websites, social media, and online reviews can tell you a lot. Look at these official lists to see if someone’s qualifications check out: certified practising accountants (CPAs), public accountants and chartered accountants.
Bonus tip: look for accountants who specialise in small business, or even trades. Someone who’s worked with trades businesses before will better understand what you need and the potential issues you might face.
It’s time for a chat
Once you have a shortlist, it’s time for a meet and greet. This will help you figure out if they’re suitable, and if you get along and can work together. And if you don’t feel like it’s the right fit, don’t be afraid to say thanks, but no thanks.