There are many ways to find an accountant, but one of the best is through recommendation. Ask friends and contacts if they would recommend their various accountants. Ask at any business networking groups that you use or ask businesses around you if they go to someone locally. Your solicitor and bank manager will be working with accountants all the time – they will probably have a good idea of the firms most suited to your type of business. Equally, your local Business Link or Enterprise Agency will be able to offer advice. What qualities to look for

Make sure you ask people what they use their accountant for – you might not need the same kinds of services? What would they recommend about them and what are the weak points? Were they always on hand when needed? It’s also worth trying to gage the accountancy firm’s attitude towards small businesses. Some of the larger firms will palm off small business accounts to inexperienced staff to deal with. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you could end up with an enthusiastic young accountant that’s keen to do a good job and shows plenty of interest. However, consider if you’d be better off with a smaller independent firm of accountants that will appreciate your custom more and which will understand your position as a small business. Most importantly, it is advisable to choose someone who is a member of one of the main professional accounting bodies. There is no legislation to stop anyone setting up as an accountant so asking for member accountants in your area will ensure you are getting someone fully qualified. “The internet is a really good place to start,” says Paul Watts, corporate finance partner at HLB Kidsons London office.

Go online and look at what the company websites have to say. Check to see that they’re appealing to businesses like yours and that it’s regularly updated.