Important Questions You Should Ask an Accountant Before Hiring Them
September 23, 2020 | Written by: Sohail Afzal
What questions should you ask an accountant at the first meeting? What is the role of chartered accountants in establishing a successful business venture? Are you progressing in your business and you feel that it is the right time to get in touch with a chartered accountant? This article will help you make the best possible preparations at the start of your business in terms of selecting an accountant for your business.
Your First Meeting with an Accountant
You can request a free consultation from an accountant at any time; during the fiscal year, at the inception of your business, or when you feel that you are losing your sight from the big picture of your business and you need someone who can control your business finances & taxes. You need to interact with a few accountants to anticipate which one is more relevant to your business. It is always recommended to meet different accountants to compare them on their professional experience and the pricing. The approaches can be different and the prices too, so you need to make a decision based on the clients’ testimonials and google reviews.
A chartered accountant is the only person outside the company authorized to have access, prepare, review, and monitor the financial accounts of your business. This profession has a clear code of ethics and every accountant needs to follow such professional ethics while preparing financial statements and providing tax planning services. All the initial conversations should revolve around the following questions or points, and your accountant should be able to share his knowledge on all of them based on his previous experience.
Note that the first meeting with a chartered accountant is normally free; take full advantage of it!
Questions to Ask at the First Meeting With a Chartered Accountant
Here are some of the questions or points that you need to discuss with your accountant before hiring him:
1) Business Startup Questions:
- What legal status of the business would you advise me; sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation?
- From a tax point of view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each legal status?
- What is your price for setting up a company? (drafting articles of incorporation and preparing shareholders’ agreement, etc.)
- Can you help me prepare a financial forecast? If so, at what cost? Note that some chartered accountants provide this service free of cost, provided you will become a client subsequently.
- What do you think of my business and its viability?
- What level of management & tax consultancy do you offer?
- Will you be able to visit my company in-person, if necessary?
2) Business Relationship With an Accountant:
- What is your working methodology?
- What do you expect from me to complete your engagement?
- Who will be my daily contact person?
3) The Prices of Accounting Services:
- What fees do you charge for your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax services?
- What modalities for readjusting prices during the business, if necessary?
- What are the terms of payment for your services?
4) Tax Questions:
- How do you handle my business taxes and deductions?
- Will you be able to represent me if I get audited?
- What are your tax planning strategies for my business?
- How does your company keep track of what I need to file and when, so I don’t miss any tax deadlines?
- How do make yourself updated with the current tax laws which are applicable to my business?
5) Why Should I Hire You?
- How will you add value to my business?
- How will you improve my company’s cashflows and record financial transactions error-free?
- What value will you add to my business beyond compliance?
- How can you help me grow my business?
- How do I recognize a good accountant?
In general, what advantages do you offer over other accounting firms?
If you can get the information on the aforementioned set of questions before deciding on an accountant, you should have everything you need to make a good decision. You can use these questions as a starting point to assess the suitability of prospective accountants. The sequential questions will help you identify trends and differences in answers, giving you a solid reason to decide on your accountant. You will most likely work with your accountant Toronto for many years, so it is worth investing a little time and effort to make sure you hire the one who is best suited to business needs.
Sohail Afzal, CPA, CMA, MBA
Sohail Afzal, (CPA, CMA, MBA) is the founder & CEO of GTA Accounting Professional Corporation. He is a highly experienced Chartered Professional Accountant and businessman himself and understands the challenges that many businesses face when it comes to cash flow management. As an experienced business consultant & tax advisor, he is helping companies grow by providing the technical, financial, and contractual information necessary for strategic decision-making.