Accounting is an invaluable aspect of your business and business management, which means that you need to find an excellent accountant, to not only navigate the ever-changing tax laws’ maze but also to maintain critical financial records and offer sound financial advice about what you need to do to manage and gradually grow your business.

With a good accountant, you won’t have to worry about PAYG, BAS, or GST taxes, hence searching for the most qualified accountants.

But there are many accountants in the country today, and your first account may have disappointed you more times than you can take. So, how do you make sure that the next accountant you settle on offers all you need and more? 

If you started a new business and you are looking for the right accountant for you to start things on the right foot, what do you look for when choosing a new accountant?


How Do You Find an Accountant?

An accountant is more than an expert that keeps you informed on all tax matters and changes and why you have to pay more in taxes this year than the previous year. Essentially, the right account will guide your management process and help in ensuring that you make the right decision on how to manage your finances while growing the business. 

Whether you are looking to bring in new partners, purchase or lease a new commercial space, change the business structure, expand, or sell shares, an accountant is a person you need to know whether those ideas should be implemented or not. By analyzing the business’ past, present, and using future projections, an accountant gives you sound business advice.

Your accountant will also tell you how certain moves will affect the amount of tax payable and your business’ growth rate.

If you run a business, but you don’t have an accountant, you really are running the business on borrowed time, and that could be the reason for the business’s poor performance.

To find a good accountant, here are some of the basic steps you could follow.

  • Referrals

The best way to find the right accountant for your business is to ask friends in business or other business people about their accountant, specifically, if they are satisfied with the services offered by the accountants or the accountancy firms they are working with.

You could look for referrals from the internet or the Yellow Pages if you didn’t find worthy referrals from your circles. When scouting for the best accountants, it’s a good idea to settle on the accountants with previous experience in service delivery in your industry. You’d want to come up with a relatively long list of prospective accountants to easily find your best fit.

  • Call and interview about five accountants from your list.

Next, you need to shortlist the candidates that seem like they could be good fits for your business.

In the phone interview, ask about their education and certifications, and also their experience in your industry. You could also check with accountants’ professional associations to check the validity of the stated qualifications and for information about their character. Outstanding disciplinary issues, for example, tell a lot about the accountant’s character.

From this interview, you’ll easily narrow down the list to 2 or three accountants with that you can hold face-to-face interviews.

  • Phone/Video Interview

For this interview, create a shortlist of questions that you’ll ask the prospective accountant. These questions will including their billing rates and how they determine their rates, their preferred communications channels, and their overall accessibility, and you could also ask them what they’d charge for basic tax returns for your company using an example from the previous year or a rough estimate. You’ll also ask and confirm their experiences in your industry, if they’ve worked in other countries (if your business has expansion plans to international markets, etc.

  • Meeting prospective accountant chosen.

To gauge how well you’ll be able to work with the last one or two prospective accountants, you might want to schedule a face-to-face meeting. This meeting is important because it helps you gauge if you will be able to work with the accountant(s) or not, how comfortable you are with them, how well you communicate with each other, and if they really are who you want to run your business’s accounts.


What to look for when choosing an accountant?       

At the end of the day, your business accountant is more than a tax preparer; they can help you come up with a definite blueprint to guide the future of your business.      

  • Understand your needs

Businesses have different needs, and you may need an account for more than bookkeeping and tax management. So, you should choose the accountant with proven records of their ability to do more, specifically, for them to help you run the business in the direction of growth and success.

Besides the not-so-obvious roles, you need to list all the other services you expect the accountant to provide. If you need the accountant to do everything from handling business tax, VAT/GST, PAYE/PAYG, business taxes, basic bookkeeping, preparation of end-year accounts, and filing of tax returns, you should list all these services. Other additional services like auditing, peer lending, provision of investment advice, etc., must be listed on your list of requirements.

  • Check qualifications

Check and ask for their education and professional qualifications. Ensure that the prospective accountant has the accounting qualification they claim to have. Also, make sure that the accountant is a member of reputable accounting bodies like ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). You’d also need to decide whether you are looking for a CPA firm or an accountant. 

  • Check for the licenses

By now, you know that an account is only in a position to give you the best tax advice if they are a tax agent, and they can offer financial planning advice only if they are accredited and licensed; and if they have the Australian Financial Services License. An alternative to the license that is acceptable would be a situation where the accountant is an authorized representative of a licensed accountancy firm or individual license holder.

In addition to licensing and accreditation, you also need an accountant who is appropriately qualified, with professional indemnity insurance.

  • What kind of services the accountant offers    

In line with making sure that the accountant is capable of meeting your needs, you need to confirm the services they provide. Is the accountant experienced in your line of business or the types of services you provide?

If you are looking for an accountant to take care of business tax, GST, PAYG, bookkeeping, preparation of annual financial documents, as well as auditing, credit management, trading internationally, investment advice/management services, etc., you’d want to look at the list of Accounting Services that the accountant claims to offer.

  • Find a specialist

Depending on the size of your business and the type of business you run, you may find that you need the services of not just any accountant but a professional accounting adept in specific areas of business accounting. 

The main specialties include bookkeeping, tax filing/ tax planning, auditing, advisory, and accounting. If you are looking for specialty services, find an accountant with a proven track record showing their ability to provide the service you are keen on.

Other specialty services offered by accountants include management consulting, business valuation, information system services, forensic accounting, etc.

  • Consider location

Some businesses call for the hands-on and active involvement of an accountant. For these businesses, an accountant must be willing to visit the business location frequently or even work in-house. This is a common feature for large corporates and businesses that handle a lot of physical stock. So, if your business needs an in-house accountant or an accountant you can meet with on short notice, you should find an accountant based locally.

With cloud accounting, the location shouldn’t matter. However, there are situations where the location matters because you won’t be able to collaborate using any of the online/advanced communication channels available.

  • Experience

You are most likely a small business, which means that you need an accountant with experience in running finances for small businesses. Your budget could also be too small for you to afford the services of the big accounting firms, which is why you’d be better off with an account or an accountancy firm like Solve Accounting with experience working with small businesses. 

  • See what other clients have to say

Before you settle on an accountant, check online reviews of their services. You could also use online forums or social media to determine whether you should trust the accountant or not. Your social networks are also incredibly helpful.

So, check out who they are connected to, how they talk about their profession and the services they provide, whether they’ve been recommended by their past clients, and the experiences of previous clients. The online space is essential if you are going to find an accountant in Sydney. 

  • Fees and Billing

What are the accountant’s fees, vis-à-vis the services they provide? Do other clients claim to get value for money for the services provided?

How do they charge? Most accountants charge by the hour, which means that it may not be the business move to have the accountant come in to do the data entry work. To ensure the best value for your money, choose accountants who are proactively working on saving your money through the use of the best quality accounting services or working out ways that you can cut down operational costs on.

  • Software used

Accountants often have preferred accounting software that they use. Since the accountant may be in your company for many years, you might want to switch to the type of software they use/vice versa to avoid data-sharing issues. For easy accounting, opt for the accountant that uses the software you use, or with the option of using the same accounting software that you use (most accountants use more than one software).



A good accountant will help your company grow. Since the accountant is intimately involved with all the operations of your business, you need an accountant who checks all the important boxes above. You also need to find an accountant you trust and one who will be there when you need them.