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Choosing an accountant

The UK Business Forums thread “How to choose an accountant” continues to intrigue small business owners, but what does the accountancy community think is the best advice?

How can you position yourself in front of the best business clients?


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Key points from UKBF thread
• Fixed fees v hourly billing
• Recommendations and word of mouth
• Do your own research
• Qualifications - only using qualified accountants + difference in institutions
• More than a number cruncher – trusted business adviser

Do you agree?

Thanks (0)
11th May 2012 19:33

1, 2, 3 and 5 I have no problem with. As far as 4 goes, I know good accountants who are qualified and non-qualified, and bad accountants who are qualified and non-qualified. It's an old argument.

As far as 5 goes, you're going to get what you pay for. If you want a cheap-as-chips basic service, then don't expect to get an accountant who's constantly watching your back and feeding you good and ongoing advice.

For all the lip-service to the contrary, many, many business owners just want a very cheap and basic service. Which is fine. But that's all they'll be getting.

Thanks (1)
11th May 2012 20:17

I'm never really sure what "qualifed" means. I qualified ACA and have 20 years of experience as an accountant. I decided not to rejoin ICAEW after a career break to raise a family. People seem to refer to "qualified" as being a member of a professional body....therefore I'm technically not qualified? Rubbish, I am simply a qualified accountant who is not a member of a professional body (at the moment....I'm working towards ATT).

Thanks (2)
12th May 2012 11:56


I suppose some people think qualified is a guarantee of ability so I think you would be grouped with qualifieds. Obviously not all qualified are good and not all non-qualified are bad.

Other people may want a qualified person who is a member of a professional body so they have somewhere to complain to.

Thanks (1)
By dreamcatcher
14th May 2012 09:22

In my view the most important factor is that the client has to decide what sort of accountant they want. Do they just want someone to collect the books at the year end and deal with the compliance or do they want a proactive business adviser who can assist them in growing their business.

Lots of clients do not seem to realise that accountants sell their time and as with everything in business you get what you pay for.

Once clients know what they want then they should arrange a few appointments to meet with local accountants and discuss their business needs. Many accountants offer a free initial meeting for this very purpose.

As already pointed out by other posts qualified v unqualified is always a big issue amongst accountants, there are good and bad of each. Personally for me as long as an accountant keeps up to date with changes in the profession then it doesn’t matter if they are ‘qualified’ or not.

Thanks (0)