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Accounting is an important part of any business and therefore it is well worth taking some time to think about how to go about choosing an accountant. There are several areas which must be addressed either before or during an interview in order to successfully appoint the best candidate possible for this crucial role.

Accountant Qualifications

By far the most important place to start, before even short-listing suitable candidates, is on the issue of relevant qualifications as it is absolutely essential to have a qualified accountant. As in the UK anyone can use the term ‘accountant’ regardless of whether they have any academic qualifications, it is vital to ask to see copies of certificates to verify that the individual really is properly qualified. There are two types of main accounting bodies which result in having ACCA or FCCA if an individual is a Chartered Certified Accountant or the initials ACA or FCA if the individual is a Chartered Accountant.

References in Employing an Accountant

Regardless of the position one is interviewing for, it is essential to ask for a minimum of two references and check them out. It is also certainly worth finding out from one’s contacts as to who they are able to recommend. One of the best ways to find a good, reliable accountant is to ask around as that way one is able to ensure that the individual has the necessary previous experience.

Accountant Added-Value Services

Before employing an accountant it is important to first find out whether the candidate is able to offer any added-value services should such services be required in the future. Key examples of added-value services are aspects such as managing the monthly payroll system or the company’s VAT return. It is worth finding a candidate who is able to provide additional services as this will likely save both time and money in the long-term.

Accountant Fees and Expertise

The hourly rate an accountant charges is identified by Truman & Lloyd (2007) as not being as important as the time taken to complete the specific jobs required. Therefore it is essential to ask for an annual fee quotation which is fixed and in writing and covers the various aspects of the position. Finally, before selecting an accountant, find out exactly where the individual’s expertise lie and whether he or she has had significant experience working for businesses which are similar to one’s own in terms of type as well as size.

As highlighted above, there are some key suggestions useful for finding the right accountant for one’s business. Think about the following issues: qualifications, references, fixed fees additional-value services and whether the accountant has the right expertise and experience for the position.


Truman, M. & Lloyd, D. (2007) Teach Yourself Small Business Accounting London: Hodder Headline