Before hiring an accountant, you should do a background check to ensure their credentials and accreditation. Also, get at least three client references from each accountant. Ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues in the industry and conduct introductory interviews with potential accountants. These chats should be structured to assess a prospective accountant’s personality and communication style. Some accountants may not be as responsive as others, which should be your most significant consideration when choosing an accountant.
Find An Accountant
You will want to interview potential accountants to find one that suits your needs. While most accountants will tell you that they promptly respond to emails and phone calls, you should consider whether this is true. If you have time-critical requirements, you should look for someone whose hours are extended. A more prominent firm will usually offer a broader range of services. In addition to accounting services, a firm can provide specialized accounting tools, such as QuickBooks, and other resources.
Another way to find an accountant is to use your local Yellow Pages. Although the Yellow Pages are often reliable, their profiles may not have many reviews. Moreover, new profiles may have been created after previous studies were negatively impacted. To avoid this, you may visit TrustPilot to find a reputable accounting firm for the best accountant Chicago. If you do not know a local accountant, you can ask friends and family members for recommendations. Also, you can ask other small business owners for their advice.
Interview Prospective Accountants
There are several things to consider when interviewing a prospective accountant. In addition to their educational background and experience, you should focus on the candidate’s problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills. You should create a plan for the interview to keep the conversation moving forward. Unstructured interviews are a waste of time and make the interviewer look unprepared. Keeping the conversation open and relaxed is also crucial. The candidate should know how to behave in an interview setting, so be prepared for any potential questions that might come up.
An accountant’s communication style is essential, so ask them how they prefer to communicate with clients. Please find out how often they prefer to be reached or whether they prefer email or in-person meetings. You can always reconcile these preferences as you look for another accountant. Payment preferences are also necessary, as you can compare rates from several candidates. Finally, be sure to ask how much a particular service will cost. It is important to know upfront how much a specific service will cost before signing a contract.
Look For A Fiduciary
When choosing an accountant, you must look for someone who is a fiduciary or one who puts their clients’ best interests first. They are required by law to follow a code of ethics and always act in the client’s best interests. However, it’s essential to understand that the role of a fiduciary is not straightforward. There is a fine line between acting in your client’s best interest and advising you on your finances.
As you can see, not all accountants are fiduciaries. There are many types of accountants, from fee-only practitioners to fee-based ones. While fee-only accountants may be suitable for a client with higher financial resources, they are not appropriate for every client. In addition to paying their fees by the hour, they may also have annual checkups with their clients. Moreover, a fiduciary may need to adjust their plan if life changes.
Ask For A LinkedIn Profile
The best way to know if an accountant is an excellent candidate for your accounting firm is to ask them for their LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is like a billboard on the Internet, and your prospective client will only see the information you put there. The profile must be complete, with basic information, a list of relevant groups and thought-leaders, a brief biography, and an occasional video clip. In addition, you should ask the accountant you’re considering for a referral to join their LinkedIn community.
An accountant’s LinkedIn profile will not impress everyone, but it can help you decide which accountant to hire based on their credentials. It will also show potential clients what kind of experience the accountant has. LinkedIn is also an excellent tool for finding jobs and connecting with others in the same industry. You can meet other people through LinkedIn, share stories, and exchange ideas. Ensure that the accountant you choose has a LinkedIn profile and is active on the social media website.
Avoid Being Duped By An Accountant
Before choosing an accountant:
- Do your research to ensure they work for your benefit. While it’s common for an accountant to talk about previous clients, it’s essential to do online background checks and criminal reports | Checkr.
- Do not hire an accountant who tells you to pay higher taxes than you should. If your accountant lied to the IRS, you are liable for it.
- Avoid accountants who ask you to do too much work on their own.
Be wary of unscrupulous emails. The emails from these scammers are designed to fool you into providing your personal information. They often send you bogus emails that look like they are coming from a legitimate source. Don’t provide them with any personal information or account numbers. They may also ask you to sign an unnecessary document or wire money. Don’t fall for it!