How to Choose the Right Accounting Firm for Your Business

As a growing SME Business owner, choosing an accounting firm to help with your  business accounting can be a tough decision. There are so many options that it can get overwhelming. However, the right accounting firm can make every difference to your company’s financial results. In fact, the right accountant can save you thousands of pounds on accounting and tax compliance costs, help you lower your tax bills, and ensure your company is ready for future business challenges that are just around the corner. To help you with your search, here are the key factors to consider when looking for the ideal accounting firm for your business. 

What are your business goals?

Before you start your hunt for the perfect accountant, you need to first take a step back and grasp a clear vision of your business’s needs and goals. If you intend on reaching out to an accounting firm, first understand what your aims are and how you would like an accountant to help achieve those. Are you a start-up working towards high growth? Are you an established company looking to scale? Or do you need guidance on how to increase your financial capital? Different firms cater to different services and industries so it’s essential to have a criterion to navigate through your options. In this article, we will outline key factors that you need to consider to ensure your business’s needs are met. 

After you have outlined your requirements, you are ready to start looking. To ensure you choose the right accounting firm for your business, don’t rush the process. It’s important to take your time in researching your options. Whatever your goals, it’s good to decide on an accounting firm as soon as possible in your business’s lifecycle. Business accounting firms can help with a range of early start-up problems, such as registering you for corporation tax or expenditure advice. 

accounting firm assigining business goals
accounting firm certifications

Certification

A firm of qualified professionals reflects a wealth of expertise you can advantage of. They have demonstrated a level of knowledge above degree-level education, as well as a record of hands-on experience and a competence programme. Additionally, chartered accountants are regulated by professional bodies so they are bound by a code of ethics and a high level of working standards that they have to abide by in practice. 

A certified expert can bring a lot to your business at any stage in your business’s lifecycle, but exceptionally from the start. There are many qualifications that a professional accountant may have, we will outline a few of them that are specifically for the support of businesses.

AATQB 

AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) Qualified Bookkeepers are certified professionals who excel in bookkeeping. They have developed the complex skills and knowledge necessary to work in a bookkeeping role, particularly for businesses. 

CGMA 

Short for Chartered Global Management Accountant, CGMA is a qualification that distinguishes professionals who have advanced proficiency in finance, operations, strategy, and management. As an employer, you can rely on them to set your business up for success. 

CIMA/ FCMA  

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants is an elite group of business professionals. They are a collective that focuses on those working in the industry and alongside businesses. With their sharp insight, they will drive business success with the long-term always in mind. An FCMA accountant is a fellow of the CIMA and abides by the same values and standards. 

FCA 

The Financial Conduct Authority is a professional body that regulates over 50,000 financial services around the UK. With their advanced expertise, they can ensure your business runs a consumer-forward practice within a healthy financial system and maintains market integrity. 

accounting firm experience

Experience

The first thing you need to ensure is that you choose an accounting firm that specialises in business accounting, and not on a personal basis. All business accounting firms should be proficient in bookkeeping and accounting management. Depending on your needs and requirements, you should be looking further into their areas of expertise and what experience is suitable for your business. If certified in the relevant areas, they can provide in-depth advice to businesses — and more than just basic accounting services. 

As part of your financial strategy, you may be considering a business merger or acquisition to enhance growth. If this is the case, you will need to choose a consulting firm that specialises in business acquisition. A professional expert will provide you with dependable guidance to ease you through the process so you can get the best possible outcome from it. 

Alternatively, you may have seen a lot of success as a sole trader and are hoping to make that transition into being a limited company. Many business accounting firms will aid with the restructuring of your business as well as the registration of new accounts for Companies House and/ or HMRC. 

Or perhaps you have just launched your new startup and are looking for a more affordable alternative to hiring an in-house CFO. Accounting firms can outsource a virtual specialist for you who is responsible for your financial management and provide on-the-nose advice for growth. Whatever your plan may be, It’s important to pinpoint these services to achieve your business’s financial goals.

Level of service

The level of service you would prefer depends on your own financial knowledge and experience. Some firms are great at providing entry-level and accessible advice that may be preferred by start-ups and small businesses, while others are more confident in providing in-depth insight if you have previous experience and have already built a foundation of financial knowledge.  However, great accountants are those who are proactive and are always looking for ways your business could cut costs. They are doing more than account management or tax returns, and are proactive about finding ways to reduce business expenses. By going above and beyond, this reflects a substantial level of accounting knowledge and understanding of cash flow. 

 

Communication is key. You may want to reach out to an accounting firm for simple tax services, if so then an annual or quarterly check-in suffices. However, if you’re in the midst of great change or growth, you want to outsource an accountant who is readily available and will maintain regular communication with you throughout the process. It can be exceptionally helpful to contact an accounting firm before proceeding with a business acquisition, or if you are in the early stages of a scaling strategy. 

 

Above all of this, good client relations and service can make a big difference. It can be difficult to discuss financial matters about your business, so it’s important you find an accounting firm that you feel comfortable with. If you are capable of providing as much information as you can to your accounting firm, this can result in better quality advice that is intuitive and accurate. 

chartered business accounting working on the sofa

Technology

Moving your financial management online will revolutionise your business. Not only are you saving money on supplies and stationery, but you’re also switching to a more sufficient system that will boost productivity significantly. By moving all your business’s records online, information is accurately organised and secure. 

 

New digital innovations have truly transformed accounting. Technology has evolved to boost the efficiency and capabilities of accountants to analyse statistical data and assess risk. Furthermore, cloud software means information can be easily stored and exchanged by any of your employees outside of the office. Dynamic accounting systems can be set up for payroll and tax so you don’t have to rummage through heaps of paperwork. It has made it not only possible but incredibly easy to record information in real-time, collect and compile data from various sources, and automate repetitive tasks. 

 

At Wilkinson Accounting Solutions, we are a business accounting and consultancy firm that are expert in business accounting. Whether you’re looking for advice in business acquisition or searching for future-proof solutions to financial management, you can depend on us for professional advisory and bookkeeping services that you can rely on. To learn more about how we can benefit your business, get in touch with us today

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