Last Updated on August 20, 2021 by Editorial Staff
Do you know which questions to ask an accountant before you hire them? In our guide, we’ll show you how to make sure they’re right for you.
After your fifth hour of staring at your company’s ledger without making any headway, you realized something about your company. You need to hire an accountant to help keep your finances straight!
But hiring an accountant isn’t cheap and adding another salary to your budget gets tricky. An entry-level accountant can cost your company up to $122,840 each year!
Before you lock in another salary into your company budget, you should know how to look for a well-qualified accountant. Keep reading to learn 10 questions to ask an accountant before hiring them.
1. Do They Have Professional References?
The first thing you should look at is the accountant’s references. Make sure you follow up with these references and that they’re people who have worked with the accountant. Personal references are nice, but they can’t tell you what to expect from an accountant from a business point of view.
2. How Long Have They Worked in This Field?
There are many fields of accounting that one could gain experience in. You want to make sure your accountant has worked in business finances for a while instead of someone who has worked in hedge funds for most of their career.
When you ask an accountant how long they’ve worked in accounting, make sure you also ask if they worked in any other financial fields during that period.
3. What Fees Will They Charge Your Company?
Different accountants and accounting companies charge different fees for their services. Will they charge you by the hour or a flat-rate monthly fee? How much will this cost your company each year?
Make sure you come to an understanding about billing and fees as early as possible so you don’t waste each other’s time. Or worse, you don’t want to hire someone and end up with a massive unexpected bill at the end of the first month!
4. Why Should I Hire You?
This sounds like a softball question, but you can learn a lot about someone by the way they answer this question. A great hire would respond with a confident and informative answer. But, some applicants will stumble around or have no answer at all to this question!
5. Questions to Ask an Accountant About Software and Programs
There are a bunch of different accounting software programs to choose from these days. If you have a program already, you’ll want to find an accountant who can work with that system. If you don’t have a program already, then ask the accountant which programs they prefer and why so you can select something that they’re familiar with.
6. Will Your Business Get a Dedicated Accountant or a Team?
This is a very important question for you to know and both options have benefits and caveats. Make sure to ask your potential accountant whether you’re hiring a team or one person.
If you hire a team of accountants, then you don’t have to worry about your accountant getting sick or going on vacation, leaving you high and dry for days or even weeks. On top of that, a team can pull together during tax season and finish your taxes at record speed.
7. How Often and With What Methods Do They Communicate With the Client?
Communication is the key to any good relationship and that’s no different from you and your accountant. If they prefer to contact you via email or text message and you prefer phone calls, chances are that will create conflict at some point.
Also, be sure to ask about how often you should expect to hear from them. You might want at least one meeting a week most of the year, but come tax season, you’ll need much more contact. Know how often your accountant expects to meet with you about the finances.
8. Ask Them to Give You Feedback on Your Current System
This question has two benefits for you. The first thing is that you’ll see how well the accountant can analyze and improve your system. The other benefit is, even if you chose not to hire that accountant, you’ll have ideas for how to improve your system anyway!
9. Ask How They Would Go About Preparing Your Tax Forms
Tax season is the most stressful time of the year for accountants and businesses alike. One thing you’ll want to ask is how they go about filing taxes since doing this the wrong way could result in hefty fines. Make sure the accountant plans on starting early to avoid panicking to get everything done by the deadline.
10. Do They Communicate Well With You?
Aside from the method and frequency of your conversations, do you understand each other? If an accountant explains everything using high-level accounting terminology, you might not follow what they’re saying. If you find that one or both of you have to explain something several times, that’s a bad omen.
Find an Accountant You Can Count On
Make sure to interview several well-qualified applicants before you make your decision. Sometimes the first applicant looks great, but a superstar could have the very next interview appointment.
Though there are many other questions you could ask, these 10 questions to ask an accountant should help get your interview off to a good start.
We hope you enjoy reading this article and that you learned a few things to ask a potential accountant before hiring them. For more great articles about accounting and finances, check out the rest of our blogs today!