Running a successful business is about more than just the work that you do or the products that you offer – it is about the people you employ or work with to complement those skills. One of the most important people that you work with is a chartered accountant – but what does this person do and how do you choose one?
Being a chartered accountant
A chartered account is someone who has a qualification that allows them to use the letters ACA or FCA after their name – an Associate or Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. To gain this qualification, the person goes through a three year training program led by an already qualified account and then must pass annual exams, meaning that someone who has the qualification is at the top of their profession.
Anyone can call themselves an accountant and may be able to do some of the basics of the job. However only someone who has these qualifications and has completed the exams can call themselves a chartered accountant.
What a chartered accountant does?
While an accountant can help with issues such as bookkeeping and tax returns, a chartered accountant can offer advice on a wide range of business related topics and is more of a business advisor than just someone keeping accounts.
Jobs that a chartered account can assist with include:
- Evaluating the finances of a business
- Help to create a business plan
- Create bookkeeping and management information systems including choosing software
- Assisting with the legal structure of the business
- Assisting with ways to grow the business
Choosing the right chartered accountant
This means that choosing the right chartered accountant is about more than finding someone who can competently do some accountancy tasks – you want someone who can work well with you and your team to help manage and grow the business.
Working with locally based companies can be an advantage because you can work with them on a face to face basis and hold meetings. So you may want to choose a Chartered Accountants in London but, with software such as Skype, it is also possible to have meetings via video as well as over the phone, so this isn’t a major issue.
When talking to the potential candidate, discuss their experience in your industry. What kind of businesses have they worked with? What kind of solutions did they create for these businesses and how did this work out?
While the chartered accountant themselves will have the relevant qualifications to claim the title, it also means that they will have other staff who aren’t chartered. So, ask about the team you might be working with, what their background and experience is as well as their qualifications. A good variety of experience and skills can work well as different viewpoints can create innovative solutions.
Being best friends with your accountant isn’t necessary but it does help if you get along well with the person or people you will be working closely with. Feeling that you are all working together and have the same ideas and aims is a good basis for the building of a successful professional relationship.