Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Tax Accountant

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Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Tax Accountant

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 10:00

When it's time to look for a Dublin based tax accountant, you want one who not only can help save you money and avoid any potential trouble with Revenue, but also can provide useful information for your business. We tend to think of tax accountants as numbers people, but a good accountant does more than just figure the numbers - a good accountant will communicate what the numbers mean to us.

Read the following tips to figure out which accountancy firm in Dublin is the best fit for you and your business. Here are key questions to help you make the decision:

1. What kinds of clients do you work with?

You want to make sure your accountant understands your type of business. A training company will have different VAT implications, for instance, just as a construction business must deal with issues related to contract workers and an auctioneer company will have certain criteria about how income is reported. You need an accountant who has worked with other businesses like yours and knows the ins and outs of the industry.

2. Are you available year round?

How available will your accountant be to you, not only at audit time but throughout the year. "When you're running a  business, you're going to need help all year, says Eamon Leahy of Leahy & Co. Chartered Accountants  "If something comes up, you don't want to wait until tax or audit time in order to get your issue addressed - you should feel your accoutant is available to you when you need them"

3. Who will be doing the work?

Accountants will often outsource work to a third party. This doesn't mean their services are bad, but you want to be sure they are forthright about who is doing the work.

4. Are you a conservative or more aggressive accountant?

Some accountants want to write off everything they possibly can, while others take a more conservative approach. It's important to figure out where you fall on the spectrum and find an accountant who agrees with your philosophy, 

5. How do you bill for your services?

Some accountants charge by the hour; others bill a flat rate. If you want to take a more hands-on approach to your bookkeeping, an hourly rate might be better because you won't have as much continuous work for an accountant. Regardless of the billing approach, be sure to get an estimate of an accountant's likely fees. Provide a copy of your previous year's tax returns so the accountant can familiarse himself with your business before giving a quote.

6. What tax program do you use?

You shouldn't choose accountants based on the tax program they use, but it's a good detail to ask about. QuickBooks is commonly used for small businesses, which means your information would likely be easily transferred between different accountants. Hiring an accountant who uses more obscure tax software won't affect the quality of the work, but it might make it tricky to switch accountants.

7. How often will we communicate about tax issues?

Every tax accountant will be different when it comes to frequency of communication for tax planning purposes. Ask about a prospective accountant's approach and be sure you're satisfied with the degree of communication - you want to feel comfortable calling them with issues relating to your taxes,