How do I find a good accountant? No matter who you choose, it’s vital that they understand the tax laws that relate to your business. We have nine easy steps to follow if you need to know how to find an accountant.
How to Find an Accountant in Canada in 9 Easy Steps
- Choose a Certified or Chartered Accountant
- Interview Several Candidates Before You Decide
- Look for an Accountant with Relevant Expertise
- Talk to Government and Business Associations
- Tap Into Your Social Networks
- Make Use of Your Connections Online
- Always Negotiate Fees
- Prepare a Short List of Questions You Want to Ask Prospective Accountants
- Meet with the Prospective Accountant(s) You’ve Chosen, and Ask Questions
1. Choose a Certified or Chartered Accountant
If you need to find a CPA or chartered accountant, here are some things to consider to find the right one for your business:
- Location: For face-to-face contact, an accountant near me might be a good idea. However, if you’re okay with online collaboration, your accountant could live anywhere.
- Workload: Find out what the accountant will do vs. what you will still need to keep track of on your end.
- Accounting software: Determine if the accountant is familiar with your accounting software.
- Cost: Determine if they’re within your budget and can save you money.
2. Interview Several Candidates Before You Decide
Plan to conduct a series of interviews. After the first round, you should have a clearer idea of what type of accountant will work best for you. With a clearer vision, you’ll have a better idea of questions to ask for the second round of interviews.
3. Look for an Accountant with Relevant Expertise
When looking for an accountant, you should ask candidates to provide you with a list of companies for which they’ve worked, including company size and basic revenue size.
Your accountant should have experience with businesses your size and larger in case your business grows in the future.
It’s also best if you choose an accountant that has worked in similar market sectors to yours.
4. Talk to Government and Business Associations
How do I find my first accountant? Several organizations exist to help advise businesses, including local chambers of commerce.
These organizations may offer free or low-cost advice, workshops, and Canadian accounting resources for businesses like yours. Or you can learn accounting to help you understand the financial aspect of your business until you hire an accountant.
Local business owners may be able to offer an idea about accountants they like or dislike to help narrow your choices.
5. Tap Into Your Social Networks
Tapping into your existing social networks can help you uncover potential accountants. Even friends and acquaintances who don’t own their own business may know someone they can recommend to interview.
The personal accountant who fits your friend’s needs may not fit the needs of your business. However, it can’t hurt to interview them to find out how versatile their experience might be.
6. Make Use of Your Connections Online
Sometimes your online connections on FaceBook or more professional sites like LinkedIn might have recommendations for a quality accountant.
If a recommended accountant has a LinkedIn profile, you can research whether they seem like a good fit for your business. You can also use your LinkedIn profile to search for accountants that other people and businesses recommend.
7. Always Negotiate Fees
Some accountants charge by the hour, some charge a monthly retainer, while others charge a percentage of your company’s turnover.
It’s a good idea to get a quote on fee rates from all your potential candidates during the interview process. Then, compare the fees when making your final decision. Consider asking the accountant to work with you on a sliding scale dependent on revenue size.
8. Prepare a Short List of Questions You Want to Ask Prospective Accountants
Here are a few topics that are important to include in your interview questions:
- Billing: Ask how they determine their rates and whether they charge extra to answer quick questions from time to time by phone or email.
- Accessibility: Find out how quickly they can get back to your questions and whether they prefer an email, phone call, or office visit.
- Tax return costs: Show them last year’s tax returns to get an idea of how much they would charge for a similar tax return.
- Special requirements: Determine their familiarity with your company’s specific financial business practices.
9. Meet with the Prospective Accountant(s) You’ve Chosen, and Ask Questions
A face-to-face meeting can help you gauge how comfortable you are with the potential accountant and how well you communicate. Since your relationship will be a long-term one, how well you work together is important.
Why is Accounting Important?
Accounting is important for several reasons:
- Tracking income and expenditures
- Ensuring statutory compliance
- Compiling financial information for investors, management, or government
- Evaluating business performance
- Creating a budget
- Providing future projections
How Much Does a Tax Accountant Cost?
The average hourly cost for a tax accountant in Canada is $300. However, you’ll find some that cost $146 on the low end or $457 on the high end.
The cost depends on who you use and which tax forms they file for your business.
What Are the Benefits of Outsourcing Your Accounting Needs?
Outsourcing has several advantages.
You’ll Save a Lot of Time and Effort
Outsourcing saves small business owners from having to manage accounting and payroll themselves. It gives them time to manage other business aspects and prevents them from falling behind.
Hiring an accountant offsite also allows you to have fewer onsite employees to manage, which can free up resources.
You Save Money
Without paying a salary, benefits, and insurance for a full-time employee, you save money. Thus, outsourcing your accounting needs is cost-effective, no matter the size of your organization.
You Reduce Risks
If you handle your accounting yourself, you always risk making mistakes that can land you in trouble with CRA. Hiring a professional firm or individual minimizes the risk that your business may not meet legal financial requirements.
Now you know how to find an accountant. Once you’ve found a few candidates, prepared questions, and interviewed prospects, you’ll be ready to make your final choice.
Vetted Accountants can help you find an accountant anywhere else across Canada. You can also look for an accountant or firm in the CPA Ontario CPA directories.