How to Choose an Accountant?
Your accountant should be the most valuable member of your business team with the role to be your business mentor, financial advisor, silent partner and someone you can trust. The role of an accountant has dramatically changed since GST was introduced as an accountant role is different for the role of your bookkeeper. An accountant can influence the future success of your business while your bookkeeper is mostly preoccupied with the past financial information. Generally, role of accountant should help you to minimise your tax legally, help with compliance issues and provide business advice.
Here is your checklist on how to choose your accountant:
Well qualified: To have CPA (Certified Practising Accountant) or CA (Charted Accountant) designation which means that he/she has a university degree, postgraduate degree in tax and accounting and relevant industry experience. Please note that there are some good and experienced IPA (Former NIAA) accountants but they are not as qualified as CPA or CA accountants.
Great communication skills: Should be able to understand your position and to explain complex tax issues in simple words and to show genuine interest about your business. The most important indicator of great communication skills is that an accountant can see the problems from your point of view and tell you about your options. Another thing is that your accountant should be a good listener and you emails or telephone calls should be returned to you if not the same day but at least the following day.
Personality: There should be mutual respect and understanding and you should feel at ease when with your accountant. Avoid accountants who want to sell you something or are trying to dictate what to do.
Computer literacy: If your accountant does not use computers this could mean that his/her knowledge may be outdated and or takes a longer time to complete your job. Accountants who do not use technology and internet would also have problems accessing information and the latest updates in tax and accounting.
Charges: If you think that your accountant is overcharging you, then you are probably right as you may not be his/her ideal client or another reason for overcharging could be too many clients or not having proper systems and procedures in place.
Now when you have your checklist you can either review qualities of your existing accountant, or start looking for new one. Remember that if you are not getting the real value for your money than changing your accountant could be the best thing you can do for your business.
Darko Kulesko B Com, CPA, RTA
08 8359 0888 or 0403 3144 98
Office 4, Level 1 19-21 Metro Parade, Mawson Lakes SA