If your accountant "died" tomorrow, what would you look for in a new one?
Aside from the obvious (company reports, tax, BAS, PAYE etc.) compliance issues, what special things does your accountant bring to your business? And how would you choose between all the firms on offer if forced to select a new one? Where would you start – referral, industry expertise, area of specialisation, online search?
Although the question was a bit morbid your certainly got my attention. If my accountant died and went to heaven (Yes I'd hope they didn't do anything "creative" with my accounting) I'd look for another accountant with the following criteria: Experience with my industry - I'd prefer someone who has had experience with my type of income stream and deductions, although it seems very obvious, I still haven't found an accountant that truley specialises in income for digital revenue streams. Apart from my employment income I also derive income from online sources such as adsenses and YouTube ads and sponsorship - very new types of income. I'd want an accountant that can understand that and that can (which leads to my next criteria) Get me the most deductions! Of course I want as much deductions as legally possible, and also advice on how I can spend to get the most deductions. Not only do I want an accountant to play damage control, I want them to also give me advice on how I can shape my expenses to get the most out of my income too :) In terms of how I would find them, I would most likely ask people I know in the same industry area that I'm dealing with and ask them if they were happy with their accountant and whether they'd recommend them. My original accountant was found based on search and locality as well as a recommendation. In summary I'm looking for an accountant that can also play the role of business advisor if need be and knowledge of my industry is one of the most important criterias :)
Tolerance, patience and long-suffering.
I tend to agree with Wendy, an accountant that understands my industry would be the first priority followed by how proactive they are, which to do this, they would need to spend time reviewing my business to then be able to advise me on what I could do better.