How do you choose the best accounting firm for an SME business?
What are the main factors in selecting the best accounting firm for your small business?
Choosing the right accounting firm really depends on what your current needs are, your project or task size and scope, and plans. However, there are a few factors you should consider when choosing between accounting firms.
To choose the right accounting firm, you first need to understand the different types of accounting firms to consider. At the top, you have the “Big 4”, which comprises of the four famous and established full-service firms with a rich history, diverse and top clients as well as the hefty price tag to match it like Ernst & Young and PWC.
Next, comes other full-service firms that could be big or small businesses, and they cover every type of accounting and services under one roof.
You’ll also find specialised firms, whether big or small companies, specialising in tax, auditing, consulting and strategies, etc. They may or may not provide other accounting services.
Secondly, you should look at their experience and qualification. This covers things such as paper qualifications, the type of clients they have, the industries they cover, past achievements and projects. Check up references if possible. If you find them through word of mouth, this is easier.
Thirdly, you should look at pricing, taking into account the final cost including extra charges, fees, etc. Each firm will have different pricing structures. As long as they are transparent about their pricing, you can be rest assured that there will be no nasty surprises and you won’t break your budget.
Fourth, you need to work with accountants or firms who are aligned with your work ethics and values. This is easy to figure out once you’ve had a couple of meetings or interactions. You’ll share some private financial details with your accountant, so it should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
Next is looking at who will be handling your business’s accounts or projects. In an accounting firm, you may get several accountants or just one handling it. They can be junior or senior accountants, and this will be reflected in the price.
Another factor to consider is their network of contacts. You may need more professionals working on your projects such as restructuring your company, buying and selling a business, etc. They can connect you with the right lawyers, franchise professionals, bookkeepers, and others.
Lastly, some may offer value added services at a minimal cost such as financial review, consultations, and tax advice.