Basingstoke small business accountant – how to find one.

Connecting with a Basingstoke small business accountant isn’t as easy as it would appear; especially if you’re new to the area or have just set up in business. Finding the right accountant is crucial, but if you’ve never hired an accountant before it can be intimidating. To make it easier we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask prospective accountants.

Here are 10 questions to help you find the best Basingstoke small business accountant.

  1. Can the accountant provide any references?
  2. Does the accountant have experience with your size business and sector?
  3. What qualifications does the accountant hold?
  4. How often can you meet your would-be new accountant?
  5. What technology and accountancy software does the accountant use?
  6. How much does the accountant charge?
  7. What other services might the accountant be able to provide?
  8. Is the accountant genuinely interested in your growth?
  9. How do they keep up to date with changes and communicate them to you?
  10. What makes this accountant different from everyone else?

 

Can the accountant provide any references?

A small business accountant that isn’t willing to (or can’t) supply references is one to avoid. Speak to existing and past clients to get an understanding of how your potential business accountant may treat you. We suggest you try and speak to at least three references who have businesses of a similar size to your own and one that is the next level up from where you are now.

At HL&W we supply references as a matter of course and we encourage prospective clients to check out online reviews too. If they do a great job, they’ll have plenty of references for you to look at. If they don’t … RUN!

Does the accountant have experience with your size and sector?

Ask about any experience the accountant has with similar types of businesses to yours, especially if you did not do a reference check. Not all business types are handled the same from an accounting point of view. For example, if you’re an IT contractor, but the accounting firm only has a small amount of experience with contractors in general, they may not have enough experience to take your business to the next level.

A lot of accountancy firms, including us, specialise in a certain area. We’re all about contractors, small business and start-ups. It means our attention and knowledge is focused on helping these types of companies succeed.

What Qualifications does the accountant hold?

Be sure to ask what qualifications your prospective accountant has during early conversations, it’s important to make sure that the person handling the financial side of your business is fully qualified. When you ask this question, there shouldn’t be any hesitations within the answer of someone that is genuinely qualified to do work on your behalf.

Cheryl Woolhouse of HL&W has been qualified as an accountant since 2009 and is a Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) which is one of the UK’s leading body’s offering a recognised accounting qualification.

How often can you meet your would-be new accountant?

Being able to meet with your accountant face to face regularly helps to build a strong relationship and ensures you are both on the same page. If you want an accountant that is going to help you grow, they must understand and be part of your business activities.

AT HL&W we took the decision to only work with local businesses in Hampshire, particularly local to Basingstoke to ensure we can offer the right amount of face-to-face time. It may limit our total client base, but we think our level service and passion to help small businesses is more important. That’s why our mission is to be the premier Basingstoke small business accountant. Focus is everything!

What technology and accountancy software does the accountant use?

With the ongoing advancements of technology, tax going digital, and cloud-based accounting software becoming almost essential, make sure your accountant is not living in the dark ages. Although there is nothing wrong with an abacus, cloud-based accounting software gives you (and us) the ability to access your financial data in real-time.

As gold edition partners with Sage One, we use online, cloud-based accounting systems to make accounting easier for you. Here are some benefits that come with the Sage One software we use.

  • Work from any device anywhere
  • Quick and easy professional invoicing
  • Reports and insights
  • Bank connectivity
  • Track what you’re owed

 

How much does the accountant charge?

To avoid any disputes further down the line, you should discuss the fee structure the accountant works to. Do they charge hourly? is there a fixed fee? A combination of the two? It’s important to take note and make sure you fully understand how the billing will work.

At HL&W we offer fixed pricing. Whether you’re a contractor, small business or start-up, it will allow you to budget accordingly and not have to worry about any surprise bills. It is important to say though, don’t be put off by costs right away. The questions we’re asking from this point will certainly play an impact and paying a bit more may help your business grow.

What services does the accountant provide?

Most accountants will provide a range of services, from HMRC correspondence to assisting with bookkeeping, so ensure you are aware of every single service they will be able to help you with. If you are in a niche sector and require a Research and Development specialist for example, you need to decide whether you want an all-in service from your accountant or use a number of parties to fulfil all your needs.

We offer a wide range of services that are tailored to fit the needs of small business, you can take a look at what we offer on our services page.

Is the accountant genuinely interested in your growth?

If you are looking to grow your business, you should be looking for an accountant that is just as passionate about your business succeeding as you. Get an understanding whether they really get you and the direction that your company should be heading in. Can they identify their role in helping you achieve your objectives?

At HL&W we want your business to succeed. We help your company grow by helping you create data driven goals, progress based on figures, and financial strategies based upon your cash flow. Understanding your business is key to our success.

How do they keep up to date with changes and communicate them to you?

When it comes to tax for business owners, the rules and regulations are constantly shifting. In the last few years, the rules regarding dividends have changed significantly, you can discover more on this topic in a previous blog about the Optimum Salary and Dividends for small businesses in 2018/2019. It’s crucial that your possible accountant is keeping up-to-date with changes in the financial world so that they can help make sure your business is up to date with it as well – helping you stay clear of those unexpected fines.

What makes this accountant different from everyone else?

After asking all the other questions you should get a good idea of how each accountant would fit into your world but we think it’s always a good question to ask if you are struggling to make your mind up. How well can the accountant differentiate themselves from the vast amount of competition accountants generally face. One of the key criteria is location are they focused on being a Basingstoke small business accountant; or are they too far away? Their answer may just help you decide.

Interested to see how we’d answer?

We love meeting new faces and would be more than happy to answer any questions and let you know exactly how we can help your business grow.

We’re very lucky here in Basingstoke as we have a very proactive council who provide many services for small business and start-ups, there could help support you in your journey to find the right professionals to help you grow your business. Check out the Love Basingstoke site to learn more