When you start your activity, if the chartered accountant has not accompanied the creation of the business plan, you will have to call upon the services of this professional very quickly to ensure the various accounting missions.
The qualities of a chartered accountant
Whether you have decided to entrust the entire accounting to an accounting firm – independent or part of a group, i.e. from the entry of entries to the balance sheet, or whether you need support in drawing up payslips or only in drawing up the annual balance sheet, the choice of the chartered accountant is strategic. Indeed, you finally put yourself in front of him since he has access to all the most confidential information of your company, i.e. the finances and the accounts. These reflect the health of your company and they are its image, in the end.
Therefore, the first criterion of choice is to feel confident with one’s accountant: one must be able to feel at ease to speak to him freely because when the economy is booming, the problem does not really arise. On the other hand, when the sky is cloudy, you will have to talk to him about subjects that are a little tense.
A second important point is that of geographical proximity; and I say this while being well aware that today dematerialized exchanges of documents are easy, just like telephone or video exchanges. We don’t say the same things, we don’t have the time to create a climate conducive to reflection, strategies, and so on. Once again, the day you have a concern, if your accountant can come over for a coffee with you to discuss the choices you need to make, you’ll appreciate it!
Thirdly, of course, don’t neglect word of mouth, the advice of your professional network: it gives you references on the clients of this or that firm.
The shortcomings of accounting firms
Nobody is perfect, as they say! First of all, from the outset, demand a letter of assignment from him/her that clearly specifies the tasks you are entrusting to him/her as well as the rates that you will have agreed upon. Often calculated on the basis of turnover, ask him about the evolution of the rates if your turnover goes down or up. This will avoid unpleasant surprises.
You work with an accounting firm and you have one of its account managers who has been with you from the beginning, she knows your operation, your situation, your evolution, and… she leaves the firm. Whatever the reason, you will find yourself helpless because you will have to start all over again with the new person to whom the firm will entrust your file: to be confident but also to train her on all your operations. Without forgetting that during the recruitment period, no one will remind you that the fiscal deadline for the IS deposit is in 5 days!
It is perhaps a small discount to negotiate in terms of fees…