How to Find an Accountant: A Guide for Businesses

The best way to find an accountant is to get recommendations from other business owners, search online, or put a request out on social media to get genuine suggestions.

To make it even easier, you can use our free comparison tool to get quotes from trusted accounting firms in the UK. We just need a few brief details about your business, and the firms we match you up with will contact you with no-obligation quotes.

A guide to finding an accountant

There a few ways to find an accountant for your business, here are the methods we recommend:

Reach out to business owners

What better way to find a good accountant than by asking other businesses about their accountant? Reach out to family, friends, or even acquaintances that own businesses, and ask about their experience with their accountant and if they would recommend them.

Even if they wouldn't, they'll probably have some advice for you on your search and be able to give you some helpful pointers.

Get searching

As well as customer reviews, you'll also find expert comparisons of top accounting firms, which can give you an idea of the accountants you should know about. Our comparison of the best accountants for businesses is a great place to start.

Get social networking

Posting on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook can help connect you to a larger audience of businesses who use an accountant. Reaching out for some recommendations can make your search much shorter, and more fruitful.

You can narrow the search by using hashtags to indicate your local area and the industry you're in, so similar businesses will be more likely to offer their suggestions.

Use our free quote service

Our quote comparison tool is completely free – all we need from you is a few brief details about your business. We then match you up with trusted accounting firms that can provide what you need, and they'll contact you with no-obligation quotes that are tailored to you. It's an easy, quick, and efficient way to connect with your next potential accountant.

Use our free comparison tool to connect with trusted accounting firms

What to look for in an accountant

When looking for an accountant, it's a good idea to meet them in person, especially as you'll be working closely with them. It's definitely not mandatory to do this, especially if you want to vet a few at the same time. But if you're close to choosing a firm, an in-person meeting can help you figure out if they're the right accountant for you.

You should check to see if they're qualified through one of the recognised UK bodies such as ICAS, ICAEW, or ACCA. If you want a chartered accountant, check that they're qualified. A chartered accountant is more heavily qualified than a regular accountant.

You can check an accountant's qualifications online on their firm's website, or by checking with the relevant body.

You should also check the size of the firm, as this is important when it comes to your business's needs. If you run a start-up or small business, a small accountancy firm will work well. But if you're looking to rapidly expand or you're already a fairly established growing business, then you want a larger firm. If the firm can't keep up with your needs, it won't be able to service you properly and may even cause issues.

Importantly, you should find someone who's dedicated to saving your business money. Some accountants will simply manage your accounts and ensure your tax returns are complete. A really good accountant will be committed to saving your business money.

Saving money is one of the reasons businesses choose to outsource accounting. Outsourcing also means you're much less likely to face any penalties or fines for misfiling or missing a deadline.

Check reviews and testimonials from clients. You can usually find these on Trustpilot or Google reviews. If it's difficult to find these online, for whatever reason, ask the firm directly for testimonials.

Getting genuine reviews is one of the easiest ways to find the best firms and accountants, as you can be sure that you're choosing a firm with a good reputation and a track record of good service.

Finally, consider location, location, location. The location of your accountant depends entirely on your preference. If you want to be able to see your accountant face-to-face on a regular basis, you want to choose an accountant where this is possible. It's definitely not a necessity to do so, as lots of the work can easily be done remotely, but this is down to your personal choice.

Questions to ask an accountant

1. What are your fees?

This is a key question to start with, so you can easily filter out which accountants will fit into your budget. Lots of accounting firms offer custom prices, so asking around is the best way to determine which firms are suited to your business.

2. What services will be available to me?

It's important that you have a clear idea of what services will be included for your fees. This way, you can properly compare between firms, if needed. It also means that you know exactly what services your business is paying for.

You may even want to keep some accounting in-house and outsource the more complex areas, such as tax.

3. What will our communication look like?

Communication is important for a successful accountant-client relationship. A good firm will have standard communication practices in place. Discussing this beforehand means both parties are aware of each others' expectations. You want to be able to reach out to your accountant whenever necessary – if this doesn't seem likely, you'll be better off with a different accountant.

4. What will we discuss regularly?

It's important that you have a clear idea of what your potential accountant thinks are important issues to discuss on a regular basis. This could include anything from tax planning to cash flow management. Asking these questions helps you to see whether they have understood your business and any challenges it may present.

5. What are common mistakes clients make?

Your accountant should have lots of experience working with clients. Asking this means you can avoid any mistakes from the outset. If they aren't able to give you a concrete answer, this could be a sign that they don't have the level of experience you're looking for.

6. Do you provide any extra services?

Some accounting firms will offer more than your standard tax and accounting services. They sometimes offer financial planning, marketing services, or funding assistance, too. Knowing what extra services the firm provides can help you make your decision, as you may want to use these services in the future.

If they don't offer any, and you expect that you'll want these services, it's a better idea to choose a different firm who does offer this, so you don't need to switch further down the line.

What will an accountant do for your business?

Here are some of the key services an accountant can provide for your business:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Tax accounting
  • Account auditing
  • Payroll
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Accounts receivable
  • Payable accounts
  • Regular advice

Outsourcing your accounting services means you can be confident that a professional is taking care of the more complex aspects of your business. Missing a deadline or misfiling can mean facing a penalty or fine, whereas outsourcing gives you peace of mind that these things won't happen.

Keeping accurate accounts is also important to running your business, as incorrect books make it much harder to make informed decisions.

How to find a chartered accountant

A chartered accountant is an accountant who is specifically accredited with a ‘chartered status'. This means that they have studied to a higher level, and passed rigorous exams.

If you want to find a chartered accountant, you can search via regulating bodies such as CIMA or ICAEW.

You can also search on Google or on social media for chartered accountants in your area. If you want to then check that they are chartered accountants, you can confirm with the regulating body they claim to have been accredited by.

Finding a chartered accountant isn't too different to finding a regular accountant. You can follow the same steps – however, for extra confirmation, you can double check online via the relevant regulatory body's website.

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To kickstart your search, use our free quote comparison tool to get bespoke quotes from accounting firms. Give us a few details about your business, and we'll do the hard bit, matching you up with the accountancy firms that can best cater to your needs.

They'll then contact you with tailored, no-obligation quotes, so you can compare and save.

FAQs

How much does accounting outsourcing cost?
Business accounting costs around £59 to £200 per month, although this figure depends on your turnover. This typically involves bookkeeping, but it could include other services that your business needs such as, accounts payable and receivable.

Payroll typically costs around £200 a month for around 10 to 50 employees. VAT returns are around £75 to £100.

How do I know if my accountant is good?
You can check to see reviews and ratings from clients online, and ask your accountant for testimonials. If you can't get your hands on these, it may be a sign that the accountant isn't able to provide a good service.

Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.