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Five questions to ask your accountant

29 Aug 2011

Your first meeting with an accountant is like going to the doctor: you need to come prepared to get the most out of your meeting and future time together. Here’s a list of five important questions to bring with you:

Are you familiar with the accounting software I use?

Choosing the right accounting software for you is an important step in taking control of your businesses finances. This means it’s important that your accountant fully understand the software you use and the best ways to get the most out of that software. If they’re not familiar, establish early on exactly how information will be accessed and shared.

What will I get for my money?

Establish as soon as possible whether you’re able to occasionally contact your accountant with questions instead of waiting weeks or months for your next appointment. Know exactly what you’ll get for your money and on what basis fees are charged. Will you be charged for every phone call. Traveling time? Do they answer questions by email?

What new changes in the tax laws will affect me this year?

Not only is it great if your accountant is good at explaining industry terms, but it’s always important to stay on top of new laws and systems that might change how you pay taxes.

What are some common problems you’ve seen in my industry?

This is one of the most eye-opening questions you can ask your accountant. Hearing about other business owners in your industry from a financial expert can help you avoid expensive mistakes and save heaps of time!

What records should I keep and how should I organise them?

Everyone organises their finances differently and it does take some trial and error to get a new system in place. That said, accountants have been doing this a long time and usually have great tips and suggestions on the best way to organise your records and keep things running smoothly.

There are hundreds of questions you can ask during your first meeting, but these should give you a good place to start and help you develop a successful and long-lasting relationship with your accountant.

Grant Hewson is managing director of Accomplish. Accomplish CashManager is small business accounting software that allows business owners to focus on their businesses. You can try it yourself by downloading a free trial of CashManager.

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