The role of the modern accountant is pretty different to that of accountants as little as 10 years ago. So in this constantly shifting digital environment, and increasingly globalized society, how do you know what to look for when you’re hiring an accountant for your small business?
Use of cloud-based accounting software
Forbes put it best when they said that cloud-based accounting has “completely transformed” the whole accounting and bookkeeping industry. According to co-founder and CEO of Panalitix, Rob Nixon, “If you are relying on ‘desktop’ accounting software, you are looking at redundant data.” He went on to say that people need to switch their accounting software to the cloud to “access richer, more accurate data on any device.”
London-based small business and contractor accountants 3 Wise Bears are champions of cloud-based accounting, going so far as to say that files stored digitally are more secure than the alternative because of the many passwords and safeguards which are put in place when the software is used.
So if you want to make sure that you have access to the richest, most up-to-date financial data, with top security, then make sure your next accountant has access to and experience using cloud-based accounting software.
Even if you don’t want to expand into foreign language speaking markets just yet, the fact that other economies are so reliant on each other means that having an accountant with knowledge of other countries financial health, corporate laws and successful trades will very likely prove useful to your small business.
As translation experts Global Voices say, globalization has meant that “markets around the world are increasingly intertwined and codependent, and international corporations and funds form the backbone of economic interaction.” Therefore the best modern accountants will have a globalized knowledge of finance law, economic health of other countries and, ideally, experience working in other countries and/or with other cultures.
Even though translation and interpretation is better left to the professionals, especially in a corporate environment, it can only help if your accountant speaks another language as well. For example, Spanish is likely to become very highly used in business, with the British Council naming it as the most important language for the UK’s future. Other such languages named by the British Council included French, German and Arabic.
Experience in your niche
The working world is evolving, due to the aforementioned global economic shifts and technological advancements in particular, so now more than ever, you need to find an accountant with experience working in your niche, to help you navigate these uncharted waters.
According to Clive Lewis, the head of enterprise at The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), “Small businesses can be naïve about their requirements.” Since 59% of startup directors are running a company for the first time, “it’s so important to ask an accountant if they work with small businesses, or have expertise in your sector.”
As BusinessZone put it, when accountants clearly define their own niche, it helps “accountants to provide the best strategic advice to clients, taking into consideration all aspects of the business from industry and business size to target audience.”