When you hire an accountant for business, looking out for someone with the necessary skills, knowledge, and integrity is essential. However, choosing the right person can be daunting if it’s your first time or if you are looking for a change.
Hiring accountants largely depends on the business type and particular circumstances, including growth planning, hiring employees, changing the company’s legal structure, or coping with expense issues.
There can be numerous reasons why you need an accountant, but make sure they have the right traits required in your business.
This article shares seven traits when you must say “no” to an accountant.
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Who is an accountant?
Accountants are professionals who provide financial advice and accounting services to businesses to manage their money and maximise profits. They mainly specialise in managing and analysing financial records and transactions for individuals and businesses.
Additionally, they ensure compliance with tax regulations and financial reporting standards and create accurate financial statements and reports.
An accountant in the UK typically holds a recognised accounting qualification and has membership in professional bodies like ACCA, ICAEW, IFA.
Why do businesses require an accountant?
Businesses of any size and type must maintain financial records for their success and growth. Accountants are trusted professionals who acquire the right skills and knowledge to ensure accurate financial management within your organisation. Here are a few reasons why you need them
● Ensure financial compliance
To run a business in the UK, you must follow rigorous legal and financial regulations. Accountants are well-versed in tax laws, industry standards, reporting requirements, and other financial regulations.
They ensure your business stays compliant, avoids costly penalties and maintains a good reputation with regulatory bodies like HMRC and Companies House.
● Accurate bookkeeping
Most accountants help maintain accurate and updated financial records, including your balance sheets, income, and cash flow statements. They help businesses monitor their financial health, track expenses, identify potential areas of improvement, and make informed financial decisions.
● Tax planning and preparation
Tax preparation can be daunting for businesses in the UK. Accountants play an essential role in tax planning and preparation by analysing your business’s financial data, identifying tax-saving opportunities, and ensuring you pay taxes correctly, efficiently and on time.
Additionally, they help you navigate through multiple tax obligations in the UK like corporate tax, VAT and PAYE.
● Offers financial analysis and advice
These professionals have the skills to provide businesses with valuable financial insights and advice. They can analyse your financial data, identify trends, and highlight areas of concern or potential growth.
Businesses acquiring such information can make informed decisions regarding their investments, cost-cutting measures, pricing strategies, and expansion plans.
● Audit support
Some accountants can also offer basic audit support to businesses. They help prepare audit reports, ensure compliance with auditors’ requests, and represent your business during auditing.
● Business growth and expansion
When your business grows, your finance management gets complicated. At such times an accountant can provide guidance and expertise to scale up your business successfully. They assist in financial planning, forecasting, budgeting and risk assessment to support strategic decision-making.
Additionally, they ensure the long-term financial sustainability of your organisation.
What are the seven traits that signal not to hire an accountant?
Though accountants play an essential role in ensuring a company’s financial well-being and staying compliant with legal obligations, not all accountants are created equal.
Below are seven disturbing traits to look for when hiring an accountant.
1. Lack of attention to details
Accounting requires a lot of attention; even the smallest error of your accountant can bring severe, costly consequences.
If your professional consistently overlook minor details, fails to spot discrepancies in your business, or makes careless mistakes, they can jeopardise the accuracy and reliability of your financial information.
2. Inadequate communication skills
Whenever you choose a professional, ensure they have adequate communication skills; accountants are no exception. An accountant in London who cannot articulate complex financial concepts in simple terms or fails to communicate effectively with clients can lead to misunderstandings.
It results in costly mistakes and strained relationships and affects the overall working of the business.
3. Resistance to changes
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, adaptability is essential for organisational success. Choosing an accountant reluctant to change or adopt new technologies, regulations, and industry changes may hinder your business growth.
4. Lack of professionalism
Professionalism is a fundamental trait of an accountant in the UK, ensuring they’re the right fit for your business. Someone without this trait may exhibit behaviours like tardiness, failure to meet deadlines, inadequate record-keeping practices, inability to maintain confidentiality, and more.
These behaviours can damage your business reputation and affect business relationships.
5. Inadequate ethical standards
As accountants handle sensitive financial information of your business, they must hold a position of trust and ensure adequate ethical standards.
An accountant who demonstrates unethical behaviours like lack of transparency, fraudulent activities, or disregarding tax and legal obligations can harm your business and expose you to legal and financial consequences.
Therefore, choosing such a professional requires looking into an accountant’s qualitative characteristics.
6. Resistance to collaboration
Your accountant means to work in teams and collaborate with colleagues or clients. If this individual is resistant to collaboration and prefers working in isolation or struggles in communicating and sharing information with colleagues, they may hinder the efficiency of your accounting processes.
Therefore, staying away from an accountant with similar traits is good.
7. Limited industry knowledge
Every industry has unique requirements and follows specific accounting practices and regulations. Therefore engaging with an accountant lacking industry-specific knowledge and experience can result in inaccurate financial reporting.
Additionally, they lead to non-compliance with sector-specific regulations and often miss opportunities for financial optimisation.
You must always look into the traits of an accountant while hiring them in your business to save potential financial disasters. These individuals help you make informed decisions depending on their accurate financial records.
Therefore, you must conduct a thorough interview, request references, and assess their qualifications and experience to identify the right individual. However, make sure they not only possess the necessary technical skills but also embody valuable traits.