When you are working with an accountant for your business, it is important to ask the right questions so that you are both on the same page when it comes to managing your finances. Your accountant doesn’t just add up figures and balance your books, they can also be a valuable resource for developing the financial strategy of your business.
So what questions should you ask your accountant? Here are a few very important ones. They are relatively simple questions, but the answers are very important to know when it comes to running your business:
Will it Be You Who Looks After My Account, Or Someone Else?
When your account is secured as a client, your accountant might pass on most of the work with the account to one of thier partners or an apprentice. You want to know whether the person you have met with is the one who will actually deal with you on a day to day basis. If there will be more than one partner involved in your account, ask if you can meet with the others too.
How Does Your Fee Structure Work?
It is important to know how your accountant will be charging you for the work that they are performing – so that you don’t have a surprise when the bill arrives. Consider working out a fixed fee for routine work that can be done by junior apprentices, such as the filling out of forms. Then, you can determine an hourly rate for the consultancy and advice of the more senior partners.
Watch out for accountants who will charge you a full hourly rate for a small task, even if they are just looking up a figure or having a short chat with you on the phone. Make sure that you ask how your accountant will charge you for their time when they need to perform small tasks that only take a few minutes.
What Happens if My Business Gets Audited?
No one wants to think about what would happen if the business was singled out for an audit, but it is something that you should have a plan for in advance just in case. Ask your accountant about how they handle audits and examinations. Will they represent you? How much would it cost to fix any mistakes? How will these fees be calculated? This is important information to know, just in case it happens.
How and When Can I Contact You?
Another thing you will want to know is how accessible your accountant is. How long do they expect to take before they respond to you? When you need urgent help, are you able to contact them on their mobile? Find out how this works, in case you need to contact your accountant right away in an emergency.
Are My Financial Results Where They Should Be?
Your accountant can help you to analyse the financial results of your business, so that you can determine how your company is performing. They can point out important factors such as gross profit percentage and compare them to how other businesses are performing. Your accountant can access benchmark data and compare your businesses to the average, so that you can see how you are performing.
With this honest appraisal of your success, your accountant can then have a discussion about what actions you can take that will help you build on the strengths of your business and address any weaknesses or challenges you might be facing.
What are Your Successful Clients Doing?
Your accountant will work with other business clients and some of them will be doing much better than others. A smart move is to ask your accountant for their observations on what their top clients are doing to make themselves successful. It’s a great way to pick up ideas and if you apply these strategies to your own company, you might be able to improve your own results.
Asking your accountant the right questions can really improve your relationship and can have a beneficial effect on your business – don’t be afraid to enquire! Your accountant can be a very valuable resource when it comes to increasing the future success off your business.