What Important Questions Should a Small Business Owner Ask Before Hiring an External Accountant?

October 8, 2020 | Written by: Sohail Afzal

What important questions should a small business owner ask before hiring an accountant?

External accountants are normally held responsible for a company’s financial operations, day-to-day funds management, preparation of financial records, and submission of tax documents. External accountants help business owners in making business decisions by using their financial intelligence. The financial performance of your company is primarily dependent on the informed decision making of your external accountant. Therefore, you need to hire a reliable & trustworthy accountant. Once you hire an accountant for your business, then you need to get yourself engaged with them regularly through email correspondence and conference calls.

As a small business owner, you need to stay on top of your financials and taxes. You also need to ensure that you make the most of your meetings with your external accountant so that there is no confusion in numbers at the time of filing of tax returns. Your accountant would have access to sensitive information related to your business. Therefore, you must ask a few questions to a potential accountant before giving them full financial control.

Tax Knowledge

Taxes are one of the most important components that every accountant has to deal with. Your external accountant must be updated on tax laws and the constant changes that apply to your business. Before you engage with an external accountant, you need to check their knowledge on different aspects of the corporate taxes, payroll taxes, GST/HST, and other relevant taxes that apply to your company.

References and Testimonials

You can directly ask for references and testimonials to make sure your financial information is in good hands. Every small business owner aims to save money. Hiring the right external accountant can help you add more value to your business.

There are a few important questions that you need to ask an external accountant before hiring them. Some follow-up questions that can give you good details to finalize your decision for an external accountant. You need to ask all such questions before getting them on board on your financial matters.

General Questions:

  • How long have you been engaged in the field of accountancy?
  • Are you a CPA firm?
  • What professional qualifications do your accountants possess?
  • What accounting services do you provide?
  • How will you add value to my business?
  • How can you help me grow my business?
  • How can I maximize my tax savings?

Accountancy & Taxes Questions:

  • What accounting software do you prefer for small & medium enterprises?
  • Are you confident in using cloud-based accounting software?
  • Do you think you can represent me if I get audited by CRA?
  • How do you handle tax-deductible expenses?
  • How do you update your staff accountants with the latest tax laws?
  • Who will be my regular point of contact and who will do the work on my file?
  • Why should I use your firm? Why should I hire you as my accountant?
  • What challenges particular to my industry concern you most?

Client Communication Questions:

  • What communication channel do you prefer to engage with your clients?
  • How often will you visit my office to discuss my business progress?
  • Are you mostly accessible on a phone call or an email?
  • What is your response time for our queries?

Your accountant should also look at different ways to improve the receivable management system, vendor payments, tax deductibles expenses. As your external accountant would be working on your annual tax documents, business reporting, online accounting, and auditing services; you should get the most of your meetings with your accountant. You need to seek business advice on different financial matters from your external accountant. If you can get appropriate information on the above-mentioned questions, you should immediately hire that external accountant for your company.

Sohail Afzal CPA Toronto

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.

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