Hiring the right accountant is just as difficult as choosing a suitable business partner. You must be careful to choose the right candidate that can be relied on to provide guidance and advice.

What factors should you consider? Which steps should you take to ensure that the most suitable candidate is hired for the job?

1. Ask for Referrals

If you want to hire the right accountant who can provide exceptional accounting services, ask for referrals from business associates, attorneys or bankers. The society that brings together certified and chartered accountants in your area can also refer suitable candidates.

2. Determine the Tasks

Once you compile a list of suitable candidates, determine how much work needs to be done by the chosen candidate. Many firms that provide accounting services charge the same rate for recording financial transactions, assembling and generating financial statements. For this reason, you must determine precisely what you want the accountant to do.

3. Start Interviewing

The final step is to conduct interviews. The first interview should be carried out at your site, while the second should be conducted at the accountant’s office. The main objective should be to establish three main aspects:

  • the range of services
  • fees
  • accountant’s personality

4. Ask the Right Questions

The following are important questions that you should ask when conducting interviews:

  • Are you a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA)? (Do not presume that all accountants are).
  • Do you have the license required to practice in the state that the company is located in?
  • Where, when and how did you obtain the practicing certificate?
  • Which learning institutions did you attend, and which course(s) of study did you pursue?
  • Can you provide details of the organizations that you’ve previously worked for?
  • If you are an independent contractor, can you reveal some of your clients?
  • What is your area of specialization? (This question will help you determine if the accountant specializes in the provision of business advisory services, auditing, accounting & record keeping and/or tax advice).
  • How big are you clients, and how big were they when the relationship first began?
  • How available are you? Are you only accessible during normal business hours? Can you also avail yourself during weekends, evenings or holidays?
  • Are you a member of any professional organizations? If yes, which are they, and how active or dormant are you?
  • How much do you charge? Are the fees negotiable, and will I get value for money? Can you present current or recent invoices?
  • How much experience do you have?

Does Physical Location Matter?

For a very long time, the accountant’s location was a major factor to consider. Today, many businesses are making use of cloud computing to collaborate online and manage businesses.

Both you and the accountant can simultaneously examine data in real time, regardless of your physical locations, courtesy of cloud-based computing. So the accountant’s physical location should not really matter.