It’s no secret that starting a new business will be one of the most challenging things you will tackle in your lifetime (if this is what you choose to do of course). You’ll need to deal with market strategy, finding customers, monetizing a product and or service, getting the right people to work for you, cash flow, business models, office space, office equipment…and the list goes on! Unfortunately, too many people look over one of the most essential pieces of this start-up puzzle – “choosing an accountant” for a start-up business so that the finances are kept in order, taxes are recorded correctly and essentially, accountants are there to make sure you don’t run into trouble later on in the lifetime of your new business!
Most small business owners say that their accountant is their most valuable advisor – a good accountant will…
- Keep your books in order
- Assist with tax planning
- And ensure that you meet all your tax deadlines
So how does one find the right accountant for the job, one that doesn’t mess you around, make amateur mistakes or slack on helping you get the maximum benefits from your taxes?
Below are some tips from the PATC team to help you choose the best accountant…
- Consider choosing an accountant as soon as possible, if you can do this before starting the business, even better! Get your accountant to advise you on start-up expenditure and how to register your start-up with the relevant tax authorities (namely SARS).
- Remember not to trust anyone off the bat (this is a most unfortunate reality of life), it is best to check that the accountant/firm is qualified. You’ll need to check if they are members of registered Accounting Bodies: www.saipa.co.za and www.thesait.co.za
- Experience! We place massive emphasis on this when recruiting staff and when hiring an accountant, this should be an even more weight bearing attribute to look for. Accountants need experience in order to be able to do their job correctly!
- Assess their fees, what do the fees include? Are they monthly fees or annual fees? Are there any cancellation fees in the contract? Are there any entry or exit fees? How much will extra work be charged at if it falls outside the agreed contract of tasks for your business?
- What services does the accountant provide? Basic tasks that should be included are; setting up a payroll, completing annual company accounts, VAT, Liaison with SARS, income tax returns, PAYE, Bookkeeping, UIF, SDL, Workmen’s Compensation and Provisional Tax.
- Try to shop around! Trust your intuition and go with the firm that you feel you can build a relationship with. It is vital that you discuss your specific needs with them to assess whether or not they will be the right fit for your business.
- Remember that smaller firms of accountants tend to understand the specific needs of smaller companies, and as a result, will often be more responsive and attend to your individual needs more than larger firms. PATC is a medium sized firm of Accountants yet small enough to know the true needs of start-up / small businesses.
- Ask the potential accountant/ the short list you have in mind for testimonials from their current clientele. Hearing their opinions or personal experiences will help you to make a decision.
- Choose an accountant that uses some form of the latest technology (online accounting), this shows that they are current and is usually a sign that the firm is efficient and on top of things.
Ready to shop around? Contact PATC for a FREE consult today and determine whether we’re the right accounting firm for your start-up!