14 Questions to Ask a Prospective Accounting Services Provider

| September 1, 2020 | By

Importance of an Accountant

Accountants are whizzes with numbers—it comes with the territory—but people skills may not come as naturally. Because the accountant/client relationship is so important, you should always feel comfortable enough to ask both the big and little questions. When interviewing potential new accountants, be on the alert for any red flags that could break the relationship.

Questions to Help You Select the Right Accounting Services Partner

You could hire an in-house accountant. In fact, that’s ideal for some paper-heavy or inventory-dependent businesses. But if your company is service-based, an accounting department may be best. Ask yourself—and prospective accounting services providers—these questions to find the right external team. 

1. How much experience does the firm have?

An accountant who’s been around the block should have a long history of happy clients. But you’ll also want to ensure that this experience is relevant to your niche.

2. Does the company get positive feedback online?

In a time of always-on opinions and communication, there’s no shortage of company details online. Start with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to gauge the reputation of your prospective accounting firm. The BBB is still one of the top review resources when shopping for anything from a home services provider to the perfect accountant. 

Apart from the BBB, you can get valuable insights from multiple sources, including:

  • Google My Business

  • Yelp

  • Angi

  • Nextdoor

  • Facebook

You can even check to see if (and how) the company responds to any negative feedback on some of these sites. This offers key insights into their values and how they handle client issues.

3. Who are its other clients?

Apart from checking online reviews, you should also analyze the firm’s client list and look for similarities based on the industry, processes, and total revenue. Are their best clients similar to your business? How profitable are these companies? Check the firm’s client testimonial page first for some quick answers. If they don’t have client stories, this might indicate their level of experience or lack thereof.

4. Is it a certified firm?

Not every person you hire to “do the books” is certified. Uncertified accountants don’t have to hold themselves to the same professional standards as certified public accountants (CPAs). But when you partner with a CPA, you can be confident in their credentials. 

5. What kinds of accounting services does it provide?

Not all accounting firms offer a full range of services to meet your needs. But full-service accounting firms such as Ignite Spot offer a range of accounting services, including online bookkeeping, financial reporting, tax preparation strategy, and CFO services.

6. How well does the firm communicate?

Good communication with an accounting firm could mean different things. When you’re interviewing a new accounting firm, ask how they communicate and how often they usually touch base with their clients. Email is common nowadays, but if you’d prefer to have regular phone calls, partner with a firm that communicates this way. 

7. Does the firm have the experience and skill to make me profitable?

Look for a firm that offers proactive versus reactive advice on simplifying your business and saving money. Determine whether you would be their smallest or largest client.

If you’re their smallest client, make sure they can provide the time and attention you need. If you are the largest, verify that they can help you grow. At Ignite Spot, we aim to help businesses grow their profit margin at least 10 percent.

8. Does it have the infrastructure to take on my business?

Small or large firm, your partner must have the infrastructure to properly handle your business. A small firm may lack the technology to support your needs or other efficiencies to easily handle your business.

9. What made me consider the firm in the first place?

Word of mouth, positive review, or a persuasive ad? Whatever the case, evaluate the reasons that brought you to the firm’s doorstep. There’s no shortage of competition in accounting services, so think about what struck you about this particular firm and if those features or perks are important to handling your business.

10. What are my short-term goals?

Examine your short-term business goals. Where do you want to be in one year? Five years? Do you want to grow your revenue or make an acquisition? Maybe instead you want to add to your product lineup. The right accounting services partner can help you reach your goals.

11. What are my long-term goals?

If you’re looking for a long-term growth partner, think about those goals too. Some small-business owners prefer to change accountants every few years to stay in growth mode. Are you one of them, or are you looking for a long-term partnership?

12. Would I prefer a large or small firm?

CPAs come in all shapes and sizes—small firm, large firm, or individual accountant. Ask yourself a few questions while you noodle on the right size fit:

  • Which firm has the bandwidth to handle my business?

  • Which firm has a similar interest in technology to me?

  • Which firm will understand my investment strategies and try to improve them?

  • Which firm will always have someone available for a phone call?

  • Which firm understands my niche and local customer demographic?

  • Which firm can grow with me?

13. Can I afford this firm?

Evaluating the quality of services provided is an important starting point in finding the best accounting services provider, but price always plays its part. For top service quality within your budget, find a firm that will allow you to choose only the services you need.

14. Will it take a long time to get set up?

Accounting services typically take a little time to get fully up and running. At Ignite Spot, we follow a 90-day onboarding process, so we can build out your accounting team and determine mission-critical services. 

Trust Your Accounting Services Needs to Ignite Spot

Outsourced accounting services could be a winning option for your company. At Ignite Spot, our professionals work with companies every day to develop and deliver accounting services that enhance their bottom line. Outsourcing your accounting needs to Ignite Spot comes with several benefits:

  • Easy setup in as little as two weeks. We’ll even help you maintain your current accounting tasks.

  • State-of-the-art technology. Ignite Spot can host your accounting software on our servers or via the cloud so you can access it from anywhere. 

  • Cost. Ignite Spot is typically 60 percent more affordable than hiring an in-house accountant, shaving off the usual expenses of salary, payroll, taxes, and benefits. 

  • Flexibility. Ignite Spot doesn’t lock you into a contract. Instead, we offer a month-to-month service to grow your business. Scale up or down as you need to.

  • Qualified team. By outsourcing your accounting services, you get access to a team that prioritizes your success. We offer a full range of services to meet your needs, including bookkeeping, budgeting, tax advice, controller services and financial reporting.

  • Profit coaching. Ignite Spot’s CFO services are built on actionable steps to help your company become profitable. By coaching hundreds of businesses, we’ve identified what matters most to your profits.

Wondering if outsourced accounting services could give your business the push it needs to succeed? Get in touch with our team. For more information before you take the leap, download Should I Outsource My Accounting Services? [With Checklist].

Strategic growth opportunities should be available regardless of your company’s size.