Looking for a New Accountant? If They Can’t Answer These 3 Questions, Run Away…Fast

Posted on 28th February 2017 in Business

Written by James Marren

If you are in the process of looking for a new accountant and advisor, make sure you have these three probing questions ready to fire off in your meeting or phone call. After all, your new ‘hire’ should be viewed as part of your team so you need to take as much care with the interview process as you would hiring a new employee. If you don’t get positive answers, we recommend you take some inspiration from Usain Bolt and start running and, don’t worry, there will be no need to look back!

The accounting industry is in a rapid period of transition. The outdated idea that an accountant can only help with tax and compliance is, thankfully, fading fast. This is thanks, in large part, to the arrival of cloud financial services like QuickBooks, GoCardless, Expensify, InvoiceSherpa and, of course, FUTRLI

The best accountants have woken up to the idea that they should be an active part of a business, helping you predict your company’s future and supporting you along the way to achieve your goals.

So, if you fancy having more insight into your business, without having to work any harder or paying extortionate fees, these questions are your secret weapon. They’ll get you straight to the point and help you find the type of accountant your business really needs.

Q1: How often will we be in contact?

If they answer once or twice a year, you should pretty much end the meeting right there – it’s a no go! What benefit is there in your accountant going through a year-end report and showing you this or that didn’t quite work out, when there’s nothing more you can do about it?

You need insights and up-to-date information in real time so that you can make actionable changes when it matters most.

From the feedback we’ve received from business owners and accountants, the optimum amount of contact is monthly. It could just be a FaceTime call, but as you know, plenty can happen in 30 days, and the best advisors will understand the importance of providing regular insights.

You should seek an accountant that’s willing to be a sounding board for your business and use their experience of helping others with similar challenges. Don’t underestimate the value of having a regular review process in place, the right accountant certainly won’t.

 Q2: Will you help me forecast the future? 

Choose an accountant that’s committed to giving you a clear picture of the next 3, 6 and 12 months so you can face your future with confidence. The best advisors will not only help you stay compliant, they’ll work with you to predict and prepare for the future.

For example, would you be ready to leverage a spike in sales or deal with a cash flow crisis? Advisors can use FUTRLI to forecast a range of what-if scenarios to help you plan for every eventuality and remove as much risk for your business as possible. 

For us, our forecast is such an integral part of our business practice and the assumptions we make here drive our immediate and long-term strategy. We are so passionate about the benefits of forecasting and we implore you to find an accountant that focuses on the future rather than the past – it will be an investment that pays you back with interest.

Q3: Do you use cloud accounting software?

If your potential advisor appears unaware of the benefits of the cloud for your business, warning bells should ring loud and clear. Desktop solutions for your accounting double or triple the time it takes to get on top of your financials. In an industry that typically charges by the hour, more time will equal more expense for you.

Accounting platforms like Xero and QuickBooks integrate with your bank account and automatically update your daily transactions. This is just one example of how you and your accountant can save time on dreaded data entry.

However, the real concern from using desktop solutions is that you can never get a good grasp on the health of your business. They will spend so much time, and your money, on preparing your data, that there will be little left over for analysis of what these figures really mean.

Remember, it’s your business, your financial data, and your insights. You need access to it at all times so that you can make informed decisions at the right moments. Don’t risk your business by choosing an accountant that is stuck in the past. Choose an accountant that will help you unlock your business’ potential.

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