Selecting the Right CA for Your Business
Good Chartered Accountants / Chartered Accountant Firms can help your business grow and thrive. Seasoned CAs are not just glorified number crunchers; they also function as defacto business partners who can shepherd a business across challenging financial and legal terrain.
With a lot riding on your choice of CA, it is important to think carefully about the following critical factors:
- Location: Would you prefer to have them close by or are you content to communicate digitally ?
- Reputation: Do they come well recommended ?
- Approach to accounting: Are they creative problem-solvers who are well-versed in tax laws applying to your business, and are they familiar with your market sector?
- Workload: Which of the more rudimentary book keeping tasks can you take care of in-house, and what should you actually handover to your CA?
- Fees: Will you be paying them by the hour or will you hire them on a retainer?
Finding Your Ideal (CA) Partner
Location/Accessibility: Before launching your search, it is imperative that you examine your own business needs. Do you want a CA who can accompany you to business meetings, someone who can advise you in real time? Or would you be content dealing with them electronically, through e-mail and telephone? If it’s the latter, it would obviously make sense to limit your search to your city.
Experience: the ideal CA will have the kind of background and experience that’s required to deal with business’s unique needs. Do they have experience working with businesses similar in size to yours, and in your particular market sector? If they work with larger businesses too, it is a sign that they will be able to handle your company’s growing needs.
It would also be useful to know if they’ve ever run their own business in the past. This can indicate potential for a deeper understanding of your business’s financial needs.
Expertise: ensure that your candidate has the necessary expertise. A CA who is a creative thinker and problem solver can be a real asset. Assess your candidate’s ‘style’. Are they aggressive in their approach, and liable to overstep legal bounds? There is a difference between tax avoidance, which is legal and depends on successfully exploiting existing tax-loopholes, and tax evasion, which is illegal. Your CA should be able to do the former, without falling prey to the latter.
Reputation: the ideal CA is someone who comes highly recommended. It is therefore best to interview candidates who have been referred to you by someone you trust, such as your bank manager or someone from your industry. Another option for SMEs is to contact their local chamber of commerce for recommendations.
Workload: determine which part of your financial burden you wish to have your CA carry. If they charge by the hour for example, it would make no sense to hand them data-entry work. You can leave the heavy lifting—bank account reconciliation and payroll calculations—to them.
Other options include utilising accounting software that streamlines the entire accounting process, from invoicing onwards, thus making it less labour intensive. If you have access to cloud computing, your CA can have remote access to your financial records.
Remember, in today’s volatile markets, having a seasoned and competent CA can add value to your business. Combining financial acumen and strategic vision, seasoned CAs or accounting services enhance and strengthen the business development process.