How to choose your accountant

Last week we spoke about a brilliant webinar from Business All Stars. Sean Gallagher was the guest speaker and he was exceptional. To find out many nuggets of wisdom from him Read here This week we look at some of the main things you should look out for when choosing an accountant for your company. When growing your business, you need to work with great people. They become part of your team that helps you achieve your business goals. Here’s some advice on how to choose your accountant..

Dedicated Manager

Is there a manager in the firm of accountants you choose that is your main point of contact? Is that person easy to contact, responsive to your calls and queries and knows their stuff? Do you like him or her and get on well? Is this person honest and truthful with you and advises you about what you can and can’t do? It’s vital for you and your business that you can pick up the phone and ask a question.

You know you will get the right answer. That answer may not be the answer you want to hear. Part of your manager’s job is to protect you and that requires honesty. To stop you from doing things that could get you in trouble with Revenue. Do you feel comfortable with your manager and know he/she has your best interests at heart? A person that adds value to your business and brings you ideas and ways to save you money.

Fees agreed upfront

You know what you are going to pay and when you will pay it. You have signed an engagement letter for those services. Does your accountant do extra work for you outside of the services agreed? If there is extra work, then your accountant needs to be honest and tell you this and agree a fee for this work. You as the business owner have the choice of going ahead with it or not. Sometimes you might want a call that only takes 5 or 10 minutes on a particular query. That shouldn’t be extra. You want the type of relationship where you feel comfortable picking up the phone. You don’t want to be afraid to pick to call or send an e-mail as you are unsure if you will be billed extra. Clarity and certainty over fees work well for both.

Services you need

Can your accountant provide you with all the services you need? Accounts and tax returns are a given. But what about other services you need. These could be;

  • Audits
  • Bookkeeping, raising invoices, and processing payments
  • Payroll
  • Raising finance
  • Company secretarial
  • Management accounts
  • Buying a business for you
  • Selling your business or passing it on to the next generation
  • Helping you to extract value for you from your company

You want to be sure that they do the basics well. Accounts done on time and all tax returns submitted before the deadlines should be a given. Missed deadlines can lead to interest, surcharges, and extra worry and cost. Sometimes this is the fault of the client.

Con Perignon runs a successful drinks importing business in Cork. He has a salary from his business and rental profits of about €100k per annum. His final tax liability for 2018 was €50,000. He should have paid €50,000 preliminary tax for 2019 by the 31st of October 2019. His accountant never advised him of this. The extended deadline for filing his 2019 return and paying, through ROS, is the 10th of December 2020. Con has rental profits in 2019 of €120,000 and his final liability is €60,000. Let’s assume his accountant files his tax return on the 22nd of December.

Final Tax Liability €60,000
Add surcharge 5% €3,000
Add interest from 31/10/19 to 22/12/20 €5,493
Final liability €68,493

*note that the surcharge could be higher if Con is a company director. The surcharge is on the tax liability of a company director before getting a credit for PAYE paid

Con doesn’t enjoy Christmas as much as he expected to. Neither does his accountant!

Easy to do business with

Does your accountant make it easy for you to do business with them? Do they use modern technology to help you with this? Signs to look out for are

  1. Can you meet on Zoom and share screens?
  2. Could you e-sign accounts and tax returns?
  3. Can you scan documents to a secure portal?
  4. Do they process all returns and payments online?
  5. Do they stay in contact during the year and send information to you?
  6. Are you wasting time & money, printing and posting and making unnecessary trips?
  7. Is it easy to pay them?

As a business owner if it’s easy to do business with your accountant this makes your life easier. You know they are there for you at all times during the year. But you also know you are not wasting time or money doing things you shouldn’t have to do anymore.

With technology, the location of your accountant shouldn’t be important anymore. Our largest and best client is in London. Do you want to work with a modern accountant or a traditional accountant – Read more on this

Expertise in the Business

The accountancy business you choose has to have the experience and skills you need. This should be across their business. You may need specialist tax advice so are there qualified tax consultants in the firm? You may need a skilled bookkeeper that knows Receiptbank. Also, you may want someone that can put a funding application together for you with cashflows. You could want to buy a business or sell a business or do an MBO, may want somebody to set-up a company for you or change directors in your company.  Or you could want to transfer your business into a company and have questions on the best way to do that.

As a business owner, you want to be certain that you are not working with one person in the accountancy business. You know that you have access to other people in the business that can help your company grow and succeed. You might be curious to find out what their existing clients say about them – what do our clients say about us? – Read here


To succeed you will need to partner with the right people. Your staff are the key to the success of your business. The advisors you decide to partner with are vital too. How did they perform for you in times of stress? Did they help you through Covid? The location shouldn’t be a factor anymore, although it could be important to you. Have a look at the values of the accountancy firm you are going to work with. See ours Do they align with your values? Choose wisely and choose well, so that you can win the championship for you and your business. Be a happy cat!

Want us to become part of your team to help you succeed? Call Deirdre on 051396703 or contact us