If your business has grown or changed, or you’re finding that your accountant’s speed, or expert tax advice is lacking, it’s probably time to move on. Here we share the 3 warning signs MDs and company directors should look out for, and give advice to make finding your next limited company accountant effortless.
3 warning signs you need a new limited company accountant
In an ideal world, as an MD or company director, you’d review the performance of your limited company accountant annually. But this is not an ideal world and the challenges of business growth often get in the way. This means that for many limited companies substandard accountancy support has become the norm, in this situation it can be hard to pinpoint where the failings are and the negative impact this is having on the business.
Limited company accounts – 3 warning signs to look out for…
- The accounts process is slow
A busy tax season is the nature of accountancy practice. The accountant you choose to provide limited company accounts should not put you off, go off the radar, or make you feel undervalued. You have every right to expect communication and service in a timely manner.
- You’re not getting structured advice
The reason you pay for the services of a tax accountant is because you want to receive proactive advice. You want a profit & loss master plan, to get to grips with project budgets, overheads and the value in your business. And most importantly, you want to navigate tax efficiency. It’s not OK for your accountant to hand you a manila envelope at the end of each tax year, and then disappear.
- You’re paying through the nose
Accountants often charge by the hour and can be guilty of a lack of transparency when it comes to the range of tasks completed during the limited company accounts process. You should expect your accountant to be proactive when it comes to efficiency of working. To have transparent and economical ways to handle every aspect from data-entry and bookkeeping to cloud migration and more complicated accountancy tasks. Ideally, they’d have an internal AAT accredited bookkeeping practice, to make process tasks cost effective.
If you’ve reviewed your accountant’s performance against these 3 indicators and things don’t stack up, then it’s time to consider looking for a new accountant.
But how do you make sure the same situation doesn’t happen again?
Finding the right limited company accountant – Here’s 3 top things to consider…
Cloud-based accounting and collaboration tools mean you could choose to partner with an accountant on the other side of the world…or at least the other end of the country. But what is really in your company’s best interests? Ask yourself whether face to face interaction matters? Would you benefit from a quarterly management accounts meeting? How important is it to you that your accountant is nearby and able to offer hands on advice and guidance as your business grows?
2) Charted Certified Status
Legally anyone can call themselves an accountant. You don’t need any training, qualifications or experience. For peace of mind you should therefore seek out only accountants charted certified by a professional body. An ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) member has years of training and experience. Is regulated by the professional body and bound by a Code of Ethics. If you’re unhappy you have recourse with a professional regulator who’ll investigate conduct. An ACCA accountant is also required to complete continuing professional development each year, and hold a practicing certificate and professional indemnity insurance, meaning you are protected against work they perform which harms you or your business.
3) Expertise that Matches
The perfect accountancy partner will have relevant expertise. You should do due diligence around the practice’s experience preparing limited company accounts. Do they work with firms a similar size to your own? Do the businesses they support have a similar revenue level? Have they experience in your market sector? Are they expert in using your preferred cloud-based software? Can they demonstrate that clients under their care have grown over time?
The right limited company accountant will help you grow your business
Choosing a limited company accountant is much the same as choosing a new business partner.
Choose the right one and they’ll become intimately involved in your business, carrying out complex financial work as well as sharing advice on operational and investment issues. This means trust, appropriate experience, and approachability are paramount. The outcome of making the right decision will be money saved in the short term, and structured business growth in the long term.
Now, an ACCA accountancy practice that operates with trust, experience and approachability…where can you find one of those?
About Oscar Fairchild:
Oscar Fairchild (incorporating Redwood Clarke since 01.09.18) is an ACCA chartered and certified and AAT qualified accountancy & bookkeeping practice with offices in The City of London and Billericay, Essex. Offering a wide range of services including Self-Assessment Services, Annual Returns, VAT Returns, Credit Control, Payroll, Auto Enrolment Pension and Management Account services to high growth businesses across London, Essex and Hertfordshire.