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4 Mistakes to avoid when choosing an accountant

By Courtney Jones

Knock knock…

That could be the beginning to a heinous knock knock joke… It might be opportunity knocking… or, at this time of year, that double rap tap-tap could be the tax man at your door. You can’t avoid him, and he can be quite persistent when he wants in your bank account. There’s no closing the windows and shutting the drapes when he comes a callin’, so when it’s time to dance to the tax man’s tune, don’t make these common missteps that will have him stepping on your toes and crippling your earnings.

  1. Choosing an accounting firm that won’t quote a fixed fee

First thing’s first—and this is numero uno. Your dedicated accountant should provide a very specific set of services like your tax return, VAT return and so on, but a really good accountant will go beyond. As an Independent Contractor, you need someone who you can pick up the phone to if you need tax advice, or to pick their brain about an aspect of your finances that’s bothering you—and you don’t want to be charged an extra fee for such conversations. A great firm will bundle this into a fixed monthly fee, so you always know where you stand.

  1. Not having a dedicated accountant

We mentioned a dedicated accountant in #1 because that’s what you need. You’re busy all day, every day running your business and its administrative side, so if you don’t have an accountant dedicated to your company, you may find yourself spending more time reminding them who you are rather than dealing with the issues that you need addressed. A dedicated point of contact—who knows you and your business from the beginning—will save you the trouble of groundhog day’ing it every time you pick up the phone.

  1. Choosing the first firm Google tells you to

Despite the world of e-Commerce and online buying being so thoroughly convenient, you may want to deviate from the typical Google search. It’s easy to stay close to home, so typing in what you want along with your hometown seems like a Google-go-to. But closer isn’t always better when it comes to accountancy. As already mentioned above, Independent Contractors need specialized services – so prioritize that, and don’t worry about where the right firm might be based.

  1. Assuming all accounting firms are the same

Just as your business specializes in a certain service, accountancy is the same. As an Independent Contractor, you need an accountant who not only understands the small business environment, but also one who has specific experience in dealing with contractor needs. This is especially important when it comes to giving advice on things like your expenditures and income reporting and other accountancy issues only affecting the contingent workforce.

So when you hear that rap-tap tap, open the door with a smile, because with the right accountant, the tax man’s knock can turn into opportunity knocking (and that may or may not have been a semi-heinous joke).


by Courtney Jones

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