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Thread: Finding The Ideal Accounting Firm For Your Business

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    Finding The Ideal Accounting Firm For Your Business

    The services of accountants are becoming more expensive and scarce. Many medium to large accounting firms around the globe have collapsed due to disciplinary procedures and blatant corruption. Innocent businesses lost their accounting firms due to investigations from authorities into malfeasance related to other corporations.

    The admission to the industry is becoming tighter, with rigid exams, and even harsher requirements for practicing accountants and auditors. The pool of available practicing accountants is becoming smaller as a consequence of regulation.

    It is nevertheless, not impossible to find the ideal firm. I emphasize, firm, not an individual accountant. Respective bodies stringently control an accountants advertising, but most of them are not precluded from advertising in the Yellow Pages or newspapers. A website for an accountant is the most viable form of advertising. So if you search through your Yellow Pages, newspapers or a search engine on the web, you will find a number of firms offering their services to the public.

    Follow this guideline when selecting your firm.
    · If you a small to medium business, identify a small to medium firm.
    · Opt for a firm or company that is registered. The number of partners is immaterial.
    · Professional Practice/office. Offices with proper infrastructure, such as modern computer equipment, software, fax machines, telephones, and Internet and e-mail facilities.
    · Library. Does not have to be a huge library, even a bookcase with relevant reading material on tax, GAAP, labor, will suffice. This indicates that the firm keeps up to date with legal developments.
    · Archiving. Proper storage facilities for your documents and files.
    · Working, permanent and operational files, is a good yardstick to gauge professionalism.
    · Skills. Are the partners indeed skilled and qualified to render the services advertised?
    · Scope of services. Accounting, tax, business advice, valuations, investments, auditing, negotiation and other financial services under one roof.
    · References. Check references with existing or previous clients of the firm.
    · Pricing. Fees vary, but compare fees to the quality of service and swiftness in delivery of assignments and projects. If you happy with the service levels be prepared to pay the fees, excellent service, comes at a price. Rather negotiate rates, than to opt for a cheaper firm.

    A professional firm will prepare an engagement letter(“agreement”). Insist on such an agreement before mandating the firm for work. Such an agreement should clearly stipulate the kind of services offered, the rate and terms. This agreement can also address potential disputes.

    Don’t select the first candidate. Do thorough research, and you will build a lasting business relationship. A loyal relationship with an accounting firm is healthy for your business.

    Try our firm, if you looking for the ideal accounting firm.
    Sean Goss We all are scared, but only few are brave.

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    Dave A (19-May-09)

  3. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Thanks Sean.

    There are two things that I particularly like and would like to emphasise in your advice:
    • Match the size of your company with the size of the accounting firm, and
    • Build a lasting relationship.

    Huge national firms are geared for national and international corporates. Not only are the fees higher on average, but you keep getting new people in charge of your audit. If no-one on the audit team has been to your company before and is familiar with your company and systems, they end up spending significant time getting up to speed before they really get cracking on with the real work of the audit.

    It is good to have new eyes going over the books from time to time, but this must be balanced with the huge value in continuity too.

    And of course that deeper understanding of your business that builds up over time results in much better advice too.

    I know some of the big nationals have toyed with a small business department from time to time. Folks, if you want to pull it off, try to make sure that with each audit your team consists of at least one person who did that audit the previous year and you'll be a much more viable proposition for this market segment.

    Until then the smaller firms will generally outservice the big firms in the small to medium business sector.

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