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Grow Your Business Finances

Choosing an Accountant: Advice from Small Business Owners



Tax season is coming — so if you don’t already have an accountant, now might be the time to consider hiring one. But what are the most important qualities to consider when hiring an accountant?

As a general rule, location, personality and reputation are all important. BusinessNewsDaily asked small business owners to share their experiences when hiring an accountant.

The most important quality in an accountant — and really, any contracted worker — is timely, professional communication habits. I have found a correlation between quality work and quick responses across the board.
-- Jennifer Martin, rhythmstrummer.com

I feel the best attribute an accountant can bring to the table is an awareness of current and upcoming tax breaks or benefits and how my company can benefit from these changes in the law.
-- Mike Van den Abbeel, mosaichairstudio.com

Most accountants are only just good enough in that they can tell you what to do with the money "after" you have it. A great accountant should be able to help you get the money in the first place. That means he or she has the means to introduce you to clients, bankers, and help create relationships with like-minded people.
-- Richard W. Hayman, justmoulding.com

The most important quality I look for is accessibility. Nothing is more annoying or distressing than needing the answer to an accounting-related question and not being able to get it fast.
-- Bradford P. Miller, bizzbrief.com

When looking for the right accountant, we searched for someone with experience in the areas we need help with. Our business is mainly Internet-based, and we want to make sure our accountant understands all the laws regarding e-commerce businesses and accepting payments online.
-- Shai Atanelov, bigtimewireless.com

The most important quality I look for in an accountant is the ability to save me as much money as possible while being 100 percent ethical. The last thing any of us want is the headache of being audited, so I have to be able to trust my accountant to give me information that is completely above board. I also want them to be likable. I don't do business with people that I don't like on a personal level.
-- Julie Massie, juliereneephotography.com

I look for someone who has shown me that I can trust them. Our current accountant took the time to review our past-year returns and was able to find us more money. Also, she took the time to show us how she safeguards our information and does continuing education to come up with new ideas to help us.
-- Jonathan Nowling, rockhilllavender.com

Always keep tabs on your accountant, or any outside professional, to make sure they're not providing and billing you for unnecessary services.
-- Jim Crawford, crawfordpr.com

The ability to speak to me — an easily distracted, 100-mile-per-hour entrepreneur with ADD tendencies and without a business degree — in a language that I understand.
-- Jen Sterling, redthinkingllc.com

Honesty and diligence. I'm not looking to save money, I'm looking to pay my fair share and get on with it. I don't want to waste time with an IRS auditor because my "brilliant" accountant saved me a few dollars.
-- Benjamin John Coleman, benagami.com

I highly recommend from day one to pick an accountant that specializes in your particular industry. In some cases it might seem like you are paying up but if the accountant truly focuses on that particular industry, in the long run, they will end up saving the business money by giving the proper advice. 
-- Spicer Matthews, skyledger.com




Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.