Since my last post, 19 Reasons Why You Should be Looking For a New Accountant, I’ve received numerous follow-up questions on how to choose the right accountant. Therefore, I decided to compile my answers and address them in this blog. Choosing the right accountant is important because once you’ve made your choice, you’re most likely going to stick with them for the long haul. Now, before you decide to make this commitment you’ll need to ask yourself some of these questions so that it will aid you in your search of the right accountant.

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Why Are You Looking for an Accountant and What do You Need Them to do?

First off, you need to identify the reasons why you need an accountant. Are you looking for an accountant simply to help organize your finances and file your tax returns? Are you seeking financial advice in how to reduce the amount of taxes you need to pay? Or perhaps, you’re looking for an accountant to help with your business finances. If so, will your accountant be responsible with your bookkeeping and payroll taxes? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself prior to seeking the services of an accountant.

With tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax or H&R Block, filing your tax returns have never been simpler. If you are using the most updated version, you can be confident that you’re up-to-date on all tax laws. This will allow you to pay the right amount on your taxes and maximizing the amount of money that you get back. However, if you’re just not comfortable using tax preparation software, you can seek the help of a freelancer tax preparer. Generally, a tax preparer will have all the expertise you require to file your personal taxes. So, when do you truly need an accountant? With regards to personal accounting, having an accountant is useful for specialized services such as looking over your financials and helping with future financial planning (i.e. IRAs, 401k, & other savings).

When does having an accountant truly help? When you’re managing a small business, there are a lot of things that need to be taken care of and can be incredibly time-consuming. If you are new to financial management, this can be especially frustrating and complicated. Having an accountant would be able to alleviate your headaches regarding bookkeeping, payroll taxes, quarterly taxes, and other business related details. Seeking the services of an accountant will help ensure that your business finances are in order, reduce accounting mistakes, and avoid a visit from IRS.

Where Should I Start Looking For An Accountant?

Start by asking your colleagues, friends, and family members for good referrals of an accountant. You’ll be able to place a certain amount of trust towards their recommendation and know that you are hiring a person whom they have good experiences with. You can also look for referrals from banks and other financial institutions that regularly work with accountants. In addition, online review websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List will be able to supply a list of local accountants and feedback from online users. Overall, these recommendations or reviews will allow you to sift through a number of candidates. However, it is ultimately up to yourself to meet with them personally and to evaluate them according to your standards.

What Qualities am I Looking For in my Accountant?

Depending on the reason(s) you’re seeking the services of an accountant, you’ll need to identify some key behaviors that constitute an ideal accountant. One of the main qualities that you want to see from your accountant is good communication habits. Does the accountant reply to you in a timely manner and make themselves accessible to you? You want to be able to work with an accountant that you can get a hold of quickly.

Another important quality is the accountant’s qualifications. Does my accountant have experience in the industry your business is in? If you are seeking the services of an accountant, you want to be sure that they have the experience and certifications to provide you the best possible financial suggestions to ensure that your business is able to grow smoothly.

How to Decide on Choosing an Accountant?

Choosing an accountant is like choosing a partner for marriage. The accountant you choose will be handling your financial information, so it is important to give yourself plenty of time and be certain that you are making the right decision. Think of it as dating, it is wise to meet with multiple candidates during your search. More interactions will help you better judge and differentiate if the accountants are good and possess experience.

You’ll be trusting your accountant and relying on them regarding their financial insights. It is important to choose an accountant that you can trust and who is honest and ethical. If you are looking trying to find an accountant for your business, you want to be able to collaborate with your accountant. Collaborating with your accountant allows you to manage your bills, invoices, and other business expenses. Make sure that they have your best interests in mind and will be diligent in helping your business to succeed. Of course, you’re employing the expertise of an accountant and you want to save the most amount of money but be sure that you are doing so legally. Finally, choose an accountant that that will have the patience to explain things to you if you do not understand. They’re in the service industry and they should treat you with the proper respect and attention.

When you have several potential candidates for the ideal accountant, inquire about their services in detail and fees. Having a written statement is a good idea and you can compare it with the other candidates. You can always use this to negotiate and hopefully they’ll be open to reducing their rates in order to keep your business. Good luck!

This article originally appeared on Servora Blog and has been republished with permission.