According to our many identified personality types, it’s more often left brain people who have a propensity for numbers, but it’s the so-called right brain people who tend to be more entrepreneurial. Unless you are fortunate enough to sit in the centre of the personality wheel and have abilities with both numbers and creative ideas, you are going to need an accountant sooner rather than later.

When starting or buying a small business it’s crucial to have someone on-hand who can provide proper accounting advice throughout your venture. From start-up to succession planning, you will need someone who communicates well, is readily available and helps you manage your business finances. They need to be affordable and understanding of your risk tolerance and appreciate your own personal abilities.

Many business owners have the self-confidence to forego hiring an accountant and use their chosen software or online service to prepare their tax returns themselves. They may be missing the input of an accountant who can review that self-prepared tax return and offer a valuable planning service, one that makes sure you aren’t missing out on the very tax advice that could save you money and keep Inland Revenue satisfied.

Some key characteristics of a strategic accountant are strong entrepreneurial skills, good communication and enough time or office assistance to complete the work. This ultimately means the maximum possible savings for your business.

Accountants aren’t perfect so a pertinent question is what are their weaknesses? Will they acknowledge them and seek help within their own office?

They should be busy yes, but also affordable, willing to work your numbers within your risk tolerance. They need to be somewhat creative but also conservative, and never risky with your important accounting.

An accountant shouldn’t ever talk down to you in a language you can’t understand. They should not try and explain your crunched numbers and the associated tax laws at a level you can’t comprehend. They’re not a business partner after all, but a paid support to your often risky entrepreneurial dreams.  What’s more, if you dread a visit to them as you would a dentist then either they don’t handle you well or you know your business is in serious trouble.

Any accountant you choose will need an entrepreneurial spirit. They may not be taking the risk themselves but should respect your bravery in trying to make something happen. If they think having a small business is a bad idea or too risky they’re definitely not the right accountant!

Ideally, you want to work with an accountant who offers strategies and leads their team, not someone who spends valuable time and your hard-earned money simply inputting your data and preparing your tax return, someone on a lower pay scale should be doing that.  An accountant should be considering an overview of your finances and business and then review your tax return.

One more thing, take time to notice if the office staff interact with you easily and cordially because ultimately you may spend time talking with them too.