The role of an accountant has evolved over the years, a couple of decades ago they would only be seen during tax season and disappear after that. Now businesses in Toronto and across Canada, both small and medium, look for much more in an accountant or a bookkeeping company.
Now accountants are expected to do much more than just file taxes as businesses emphasize on risk management. The economic downturn across the globe has led to this, a recent report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants said.
Accountants can help management make decisions that would directly affect their business’ success in risky economic weather. They have skills that are used to influence risky decisions that need understanding of financial accounting data.
Here are 10 things to do when you are hiring an accountant:
Get referrals: Word of mouth is a great way to recruit a new accountant. When someone offers you a referral it is usually because they trust the person. It works both ways, the accountant too feels like they have to do their job well when they have been referred by a previous client.
Determine your business needs: Knowing exactly what you expect is essential before hiring an accountant. Do you want someone who will advice you on many financial aspects of your business, small business accounting needs or just someone who will file your tax returns? When you have clear expectations and communicate them clearly to the accountant both of you will benefit. It is also important to check if your accountant has the credentials to sign financial statements and work on statutory compliance if you plan to have them do that as well.
Get licensed candidates: There are three categories of professional accountants, with differences in their educational qualifications and duties. CAs, CMAs and the CGAs. Chartered accountants (CA) are recognized and trusted world over and offer various services including startup counseling right up to insolvency counseling. Certified management accountants (CMA) integrate accounting expertise with advanced management skills, and certified general accountants (CGA) have a range of duties, from providing insights into financial statements and reports to overseeing internal accounting processes.
Determine accessibility: Finding out how accessible your accountant is before hiring him is very important, do you need someone who has a whole team which can be available to you all day? Or is a single person all you need. Knowing your requirement will make the whole process of choosing an accountant much easier for both you and them.
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How much are you going to be paying them? Most accountants charge on an hourly basis, the price differs from one firm to the other and also depends on the type of services they provide you. Know exactly what to expect in terms of charges so that you don’t end up getting a rude shock later. Don’t hesitate to ask for their hourly rate and bring along a copy of your tax returns to the interview so they know what type of work they are looking at.
Has the accountant done any work in your industry before? This is especially good to know as accountants who have worked in your particular niche will have knowledge about business laws and regulations. Asking for names of their other clients is a great way to know more about this.
Is the accountant a business owner or been one? If the accountant has been a business owner it could mean they could give you real time advice rather than something they learnt in school.
Are they tech savvy? Much of accounting is on computers these days. While most accountants do keep up with industry standards it can be a good idea to find out more. Finding out whether the accountants firms has a website and is on social media can be a good way to gauge their views about technology.
How much risk can they tolerate? Don’t hire someone who appears to be overly aggressive, it may seem like a good thing at first but remember that it could put your business at risk. Find someone who can be creative while working within the rules.
Make sure they stay in touch with you: Look for someone who is enthusiastic and will inform you when they come across ideas that could benefit your business.
Weather you're looking for small business bookkeeping services, completing a tax return or full small business accounting Toronto service, Toronto has a wealth of professionals looking to provide you these services, the key is knowing how to look.