This is a quick checklist of a few things that you, as a new business, should expect to ask your accountant (or potential accountant).
1. What will you do to help my business?
2. What guarantees do you offer?
3. Do you offer fixed prices?
4. How long will it take you to prepare a set of accounts?
5. Can I expect to have a tax planning meeting before my year end?
6. Will you recommend my business to others?
7. Can you show me some testimonials / case studies from existing customers?
8. How often can I expect to see / hear from you?
9. Can you refer other people who can help my business?
10. Can I expect to receive proactive advice?
Answers / explanations ? what you should hear when you ask these questions.
1. They should list a number of things, possibly even answering some of the other questions. A good response would include, introducing you to other professionals, potential customers and networking groups; referring your business to other customers of theirs; proactive advice and support ? recognising that you might not know the right question to ask, so they shouldn't wait until you ask to offer advice where relevant.
2. Again expect several, around services standards, turnaround time for work etc.
4. 30 days (60 max)
5. Yes, as standard (and included in fee)
6. Yes, its our policy to do so.
7. Yes, they should have a selection. (The fact that they ask for them will also tell you something about the type of firm they are ie forward thinking, proactive)
8. This should be more than once a year! You should at least expect newsletters, occasional invitations or recommendations even if you don't have any work done during the year.
9. Yes, they should have a network of reliable professionals who can help you.
10. Yes, should be matter of course, see 1.
? Copyright Julia McDaid 2003 www.startupright.co.uk
Julia McDaid is a business coach and author, specialising in helping business start ups. For more information on these issues or on coaching for new business owners, see http://www.startupright.co.uk or enrol on Julia's unique Start Up 101 ecourse, where you can go into each question in a lot more depth.
Julia also publishes a free ezine 'Secrets of the Successful Entrepreneur' ? to sign up just send an email to email@example.com