Choosing an accountant

Investing time in finding the right accountant for your practice should lead to a successful long-term relationship.

Shortlist

First of all, create a shortlist of at least three firms. Ask colleagues in other practices for recommendations and choose firms for the shortlist that have specialist medical experience. Medical finances are complex and your accountant will need to have knowledge of the ever- changing NHS to advise your practice appropriately. Invite prospective accountants to a meeting with your practice and focus on the following areas:

Experience

  • How much experience does the firm and its personnel have in the medical accountancy field?
  • Is the firm’s client base just medical or is there a spread of clients? There are pros and cons of both but considerable experience in both medical work and professional partnership and owner-managed businesses is key.

The Team

  • Who is in the team and who would be the main point of contact?
  • How contactable is the main contact? It’s no good having a fantastic sounding partner if they head up the work in name only and are never around to deal with the nitty-gritty.

Service

  • How long will the accountant take between starting work and coming up with reliable draft accounts for discussion?
  • What information does the accountant require of your practice in order to produce the accounts, tax returns and superannuation certificates?

Specialist skills

  • What specialist services and skills are on offer? Is there a client newsletter specific to the medical profession?
  • Can the accountant provide benchmarking figures to help you assess practice performance?
  • How does the accountant keep abreast of developments within the medical profession? What technical resources and training does the firm use to maintain skills?

Fees

  • How much does the accountant charge?
  • What do the fees cover?

References

Most firms are only too happy for you to approach their clients (with their permission) for their views and experiences.

Once you have appointed your accountant you should receive a letter setting out their terms and conditions. Keep your accountant abreast of any major changes within the practice and review their charges every 3-5 years.

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More info
  • Abi Newbury
  • AISMA Secretary
  • Honey Barrett Ltd
  • 48 St Leonards Road
  • BEXHILL ON SEA
  • TN40 1JB
  • T:01424730345
  • F: 01424730330