Trust in business is a topic that we’ve talked about before. It underpins every aspect of a business relationship, and is key to any successful partnership between service provider and client. In previous blogs, we’ve talked about how clients and accountants can communicate and ensure trust in the other party and their abilities is always maintained. This week, though, we’d like to talk about a slightly earlier step in the process – choosing such an accountant in the first place.
Now, there’s no such thing as a hard-and-fast guide to “the perfect accountant”. We’re human, after all, and every accountant will have different specialisations and skillsets that will mean they fit different clients. But, in our opinion, there’s a few things that every client should make sure they know about their prospective accountant:
Are they fully qualified?
Here’s a little secret – you don’t need a qualification to be an accountant. In fact, you don’t technically need anything to be an accountant. An unqualified accountant isn’t necessarily a “time bomb” to be avoided at all costs, but they normally won’t have the years of both education and practical training that come with earning a UK accounting qualification. In the same vein, you need to be sure that your prospective accountant is fully qualified – less scrupulous accountants might try to pass off a part qualification that’s currently in progress as if it were its fully-completed equivalent.
Have they got the right protections in place?
From indemnity insurance for their practice through to collecting anti-money-laundering information from you, a properly trustworthy accountants will make sure that your business is protected should the worst arise. You should also make sure that they’re keeping proper records of all of this. After all, why should you trust them with keeping your business in order if they can’t keep their own?
Can you actually talk to them?
When you hire an accounting “firm”, you aren’t actually hiring anyone in particular. There’s no single person responsible, it just depends on who the assigned “account manager” is at that particular moment. Can you really trust a company where you can never talk to someone in the know about your accounts? In our opinion, a truly trustworthy accountant personally communicates with, and is responsible for, their clients.
We make no pretence of this being anywhere near an exhaustive list of things to look out for. Depending on your business and your priorities, there are many different things to be aware of about your prospective accountant. Here at AIMS, though, we’re happy to say that every AIMS Accountant fulfils at the very least these three obligations. When you engage an AIMS Accountant, you can trust that you’re getting an accountant who’s fully qualified, holds all the necessary insurance and legally required information, and will personally make sure you’re in the know about everything you need to be!