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How to find a good Accountant

Accountant desk

Choosing an accountant is an important step for you and your small business. You want to make sure that the accountant you pick is well-qualified, experienced, and upholds strong moral and ethical values.

But how do you spot a good accountant from a, well, not-so-good accountant?

Our Co-Founder, Lucy Cohen, has some advice for those looking for a subscription-style service.

Make sure they're a member of a professional body

Did you know that currently, the word “accountant” is not a protected term. That means, that anyone can set themselves up and call themself an accountant – scary right?

So to make sure that your accountant is appropriately regulated, make sure that they are a member of a professional body. Usually, if they are providing services to members of the public through public practice, that will mean that they are a member of the ACCA, ICAEW, AAT, CAI or ICAS. You may find qualified bookkeepers are a member of the ICB.

What all of these bodies have in common is that they hold their members to a high set of professional standards. In order to maintain membership, accountants must demonstrate that each year they undertake continuous professional development and that they report data about their firms to the bodies.

Accountants who are members of these bodies can undergo practice visits and inspections, supervision from the body and even disciplinary action!

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Small business accountant

Make sure they have insurance

One of the requirements of belonging to a professional body is that accountants must have professional indemnity insurance and issue proper terms and conditions or letters of engagement to their clients that outline exactly what can be expected from the accountant, and what is expected from the client in return.

There are many unregulated accountants out there who are able to offer their services at a significantly discounted price, in part because they do not have to bear the costs of insurances or professional body memebrship.

That might be a risk you’re willing to take. But as with all things, it’s if things go wrong that you’ll need the reassurances of insurances and professional body memberships.

Is that a risk you’re willing to take with the finances of your business?

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Making Tax Digital

Are they too cheap?

At Mazuma, we like to keep our prices competitive by passing back the savings we make from our efficient technology to our clients.

However, even with technology and processes that are way ahead of the curve in accountancy, we’re not the cheapest in the market.

Our prices fairly reflect the qualifications and experience of the staff we employ. Many of our staff have been accountants to small businesses for decades – and people with that level of experience rightly deserve to be paid fairly for passing their expertise on to small businesses and the next generation of accountants that we train.

Isn’t it worth giving your business finances the advantages of having the best in the business work for you, for just an extra few pounds a month?

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Setting business goals

What do the founders do?

Nowadays, there are plenty of subscription-style services out there that look like they offer much the same service as we do at Mazuma. But what strikes us about these services is that the founders of those businesses are not all that visible.

Accountancy is a profession that upholds high ethical and moral values. Our founders are willing to put themselves out there as examples of what being an accountant is.

Lucy Cohen is not only a columnist for AccountingWeb, where she writes about the issues facing the profession today, but she is regularly asked to speak at industry events and provide mentorship to other accountants.

When you are looking for an accountant, look at what the founders of the company you are considering are doing in the wider industry – it will tell you a lot about the ethos of the accountancy company you are about to work with!

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Lucy Cohen at Money2020

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