6 things to look for in a great accountant

4 May 2024

Expert Verified


Ruben Portz


We all know that accountants handle your taxes and compliance work. But is that all they do? And how do you know that they’ve done a good job?

When selecting a new accountant, it can be very hard to assess how good they really are. Aside from being certified, handling all your finance needs, and asking a fair price, what really sets apart the great accountants from the good ones?

The difference between a good and great accountant

The best accountants do more than just tax and compliance work. They will deep-dive into your business and become a strategic sparring partner. They can provide ideas on lowering expenses or boosting revenue, making it easier to access capital and help you automate manual processes. Great accountants make your business better and your life easier.

1. Makes you more tax-efficient

Every accounting firm will help you calculate your corporation tax, file your annual accounts and prepare your VAT returns. This is mandatory and you will be fined if they don't do it on time, so you should see this as the minimum bar to hit. 

Great accountants will make sure you never miss a deadline. But that's just the starting point. They really raise the bar when they start thinking along with you, trying to understand how the business functions, and helping you make decisions to become more tax efficient. 

They will think about how to:

2. Helps you control cash flow

If you get unlucky with a few big invoices not paid on time while facing unexpectedly high costs, your business might run out of cash. And if you can't pay your suppliers or team, even the greatest business will have to shut its doors. Great accountants understand this risk and will dive deep into your cash flow to see how your revenue goes up and down throughout the year. 

Based on your revenue goals, great accountants will help you determine your minimum required cash position, closely monitor your revenue runway, and devise strategies to organise cash reserves. They will also help you lower expenses when necessary and devise a plan to ensure you always have money in the bank. Plus, how nice would it be to have someone in your corner who stays on top of your accounts receivable and chases overdue invoices?

3. Gives insight into your working capital & debt

Ever needed more cash and started comparing different bank loans against each other. This is where a great accountant can come in handy. Someone to help you understand the balance between right loan amount, interest rates, and repayment flexibility. Someone who can help you build the right borrowing strategy and discuss with the loan provider's underwriting team to help you negotiate the best terms. Great accountants can also be sparring partners for determining when to pay back loans faster or when to hold on to spare cash for a later day.

4. Supports SEIS & grant applications

A great accountant helps you with strategic insights that can significantly enhance the quality of your SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme) and grant applications. They ensure your applications are not only compliant but also compelling. This involves identifying eligible costs, optimising the financial narratives, and aligning your business goals with the funding criteria. As a result, you increase the likelihood of approval and maximise your business's financial benefits.

5. Implements finance automations

With a great accountant, you should no longer have to jump from tool to tool for managing your finances. They integrate tools like cloud-based accounting software, staff scheduling, point-of-sale systems, and payroll services. This means your financial data automatically updates and syncs across all platforms, reducing errors and providing up-to-date financial insights. With this automation, your business runs more smoothly, freeing up time for you to focus on growth.

6. Supports new product launches

Great accountants will also help you launch your business and expand into new products and services. They can not just take care of the incorporation but, more importantly, help you understand the financial implications and build a solid investment pitch. 

They can help you identify the operating expenses and build credible forecasts to ease fundraising. They can also point you in the right direction based on knowing which venture capitalists are actively investing, introducing you to angel investors, and keeping a pulse on the lenders and their qualifying conditions.

In summary, great accountants make your business better and your life easier. When looking for a new accountant, try to assess if they will just take care of the minimum tax compliance work or whether they are showing a genuine interest in your business and are already starting to think along with you on how to save expenses, lower your tax position, and help avoid audits.