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3 Ways To Vet & Hire The Right Accountant (With Questions)

Updated: May 19, 2021

Photo by Cottonbro from Pexels

"It's hard finding the right person." We have all heard this statement when looking for someone to fix our car or even handle a work project. It's heard even more when someone wants to find an accountant. Every organization needs the service of an accountant; they help you keep your finances in check. This business relationship is instrumental in your organization's success. As you ready yourself for the new year, prepare by bringing on an accountant to your team. If you can't afford a monthly retainer for an accountant, consider having one to review your data quarterly.

Here are several questions when interviewing prospect accountants:

  • Do you have a small business or nonprofit experience?

  • What accounting software do you have experience in? If so, are you certified? Are you take continuing education classes to stay up to date in the industry?

  • Explain how you have helped clients streamline processes, increase revenue, or save money.

  • Explain your client onboarding.

  • Could you walk me through a typical month?

  • Who will be my contact for support issues?

  • What can I expect regarding monthly and annual reports?

  • Explain your fee structure.

Not only do you need to ensure your accountant has the technical skills but also soft skills. Your accountant should be able to understand accounting concepts but add value to your business. Your success should be their success.

Here are four attributes to helo you vet an accountant:

Adds Value

Every professional you hire should bring something "special" to your business. For an accountant, that means assisting you with getting customers to pay sooner or communicating when your cash balance is too low to cover payroll. You should not have to go to your accountant to question financial data. An accountant should be forward-thinking to keep you informed and assist with long-term planning. The accountant should be providing their standard services along with ensuring your business is financially stable. Your accountant should help with much more than just accounting.

Clear Communication

Accountants aren't known to be extroverts. Many haven't learned how to communicate accounting jargon to non-accounting individuals. However, stellar accountants have learned how to speak to clients in simplified ways. They understand each client's communication style to build an open relationship.

Trusted Advisor

Entrusting an accountant to handle your business finances can feel uneasy. Your business is your livelihood; your family depends on the business, and so do your staff. You should have an accountant with which you can share your strengths and weaknesses comfortably. The accountant should be honest and direct yet encouraging. Finances are very personal so, hire someone who you feel at ease with. Your accountant should be a trusted advisor who has your company's best interest at heart.

Recognize when you need to enlist a professional's help. You don't only not want an accountant who handles your books or taxes; you also want a proactive and all-around trusted advisor to effectively manage your business financial needs.

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