An accounting firm can provide aid to both businesses and individuals, assisting with important financial management and tax planning. There are a wide range of individuals and firms to choose from, from the huge international firms that dominate the industry to highly specialized local practices. When shopping around for a provider, here are some criteria to consider.
At the most basic level, a firm will offer a range of financial services performed by CPAs. These include audit and accounting services such as financial reporting and completion of financial statements, as well as tax planning and preparation. They will also usually assist a business with their payroll or employee retirement or stock purchase program.
Some accounting firms will specialize in working with businesses in a specific industry such as health care. Others will offer nontraditional services like legal advice or business consulting in non-financial areas such as operations or human resources.
Size of firm
It is usually wise to select a firm whose degree of business success matches your own. If you are self-employed or own a small local business, then you may benefit from a firm that has in-depth knowledge of the local market and laws. If your business has international offices or is looking to expand into global business, seek out an accounting firm with overseas branches or international law specialists on staff.
Whether you are seeking a small or large firm, ask around to find out if they are respected in the financial industry and in the business community. Ask how a firm keeps their employees up-to-date on current practices. Ask whether the software they use is current or at least compatible with that of your business.
Finding a partnership
The right accounting firm should add value to a business rather than simply being another expense. When meeting with potential firms, pay attention to whether they provide clear perspective with regard the results of their work and the advice they offer. They should be offering a future-oriented outlook on tax planning and preparation, not simply completing documents. An accountant should have the attitude that they are working to protect a client’s assets. They should be attentive to the business model and to where the profit is coming from.
When in accounting with potential services, pay attention to whether they return you phone calls in a timely manner and avoid rushing you through meetings. Do you feel there is enough of a chemistry that your employees will respect the firm and not hesitate to interact with them? If all of these criteria have been met, you may have found you and your businesses’ new accounting firm.