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What Should I Consider When Choosing an Accountant?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Whether you need an accountant for your small business or to manage your assets and home budget, there are a few questions you should always ask. Keep in mind that receiving responses that are evasive or incomplete can be an indication that a given accountant is not right for your situation. Here are four simple factors to keep in mind when choosing an accountant.

The first consideration to think about when choosing an accountant has to do with the credentials of the prospective accountant. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider accountants who are designated as Certified Public Accountants. CPAs not only has to pass state administered exams in order to achieve this status, but also is often required in situations such as financial audits and business loan applications. If you need an accountant for your small business, selecting an accountant who is a CPA would be an excellent choice.

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Next, it is important to have a clear understanding of the fees that the accountant will charge for his or her services. Make sure you understand what types of services are considered standard and normal according to the definition of the accountant in question. Many consumers assume that usual and standard services are the same in all situations. That is not the case. You may find that one candidate includes several key services as standard, while another candidate considers those same services to be extra and therefore subject to additional charges. When choosing an accountant, make sure you know what is and is not included in the basic fee.

Third, make sure that rapport between you and the accountant is possible. Dealing with finances can be a stressful situation in the best of circumstances. When the client and the accountant have trouble communicating, the stress is greatly magnified. When choosing an accountant, make sure the two of you are capable of understanding one another, and the working relationship will be more rewarding for both of you.

Last, ask each accounting candidate why you should engage his or her services. This will give you an idea of how well the candidate understands your needs and what he or she believes will be in your best interests. Vague responses or simply reiterating formal training and education may be a sign that the accountant will not be capable of giving you and your account the attention that you would like. Choosing an accountant who provides you with a direct and detailed response to this question will help pave the way for a business relationship that will last for many years.

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