How to Hire the Right Cloud Accountant for your Business

“Outsource your weaknesses.” So says start-up guru, Sujan Patel, when advising small business owners to get outside help for tasks like payroll and bookkeeping. And when you consider that 70% of businesses fail due to poor in-house financial management, Patel’s advice seems spot on.

Unfortunately, many small business owners seek to keep costs low by doing everything themselves— unwittingly risking the financial stability of their own company.   As a business owner, you may feel that you have to be an expert at everything.  However, if numbers aren’t your strength and you would rather focus on building your business, it’s time to hire an accountant.  Not all Accountants are made equal, Here at Crunchers Edinburgh Accountants, we are cloud accountant specialists.

Remember, any accountant that you hire should provide value to your business.  The days of viewing an accountant as an overhead, should be banished to history.

Here are five ways to ensure you find the right Accountant for your business.

Choose an accountant with experience in your industry

The nuances of accounting vary from one industry to another. When assessing candidates, it’s important to look not only at total years of experience, but also at the relevance of that experience.  For example, if your business is fashion, an accountant who has primarily worked in the auto industry won’t have the insights into your industry that can really add value to your work together.

Also, ensure that your prospective Accountant, has more than just the technical skills.  Your perfect Accountant should have practical experience within industry, practical skills gained, and big business, best practice, can then be transferred to your business, helping to push it to the next level.

Are there skills fit for purpose

A lot of your traditional accountants, will complete your yearend accounts, and tax returns.  However, this is all they will do.  Technology is now getting better and better, and as a small business you really need an accountant who offers more than the traditional, low value compliance accounting service.  So to harness technology, for the benefit of your business ensure that your accountant is fully up to date with the latest technologies that are out there.  Make certain that they are cloud accounting certified, and that they are streamlining business processes through utilising technology.

Look for membership in a professional association

In addition to a degree or diploma from a recognized institution, your accountant should be qualified, and belong to a professional Accounting association. Most associations test applicants to verify their technical skills and theoretical knowledge, with the goal of protecting and furthering industry standards.  This will include assessing ongoing competencies.

Many associations require members to, prove a high standard of proficiency, and continue to improve their skills through ongoing professional development.


Put a high premium on communication skills

It’s imperative for small business owners to have open, effective communication with their Accountant. You will need to sit together each month to review key financial reports, such as the profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. An effective Accountant should be adept at explaining and breaking down complex accounting concepts in accessible ways, so you always have a clear understanding of your financial position.


During the interview process, ask your candidate to explain a few key concepts, like gross and net profit, job costing. Strong communicators can make the abstract easily digestible –exactly what you need in a prospective Accountant.

Remember it is your business, and to give your business the best chance, you need to be comfortable with your Accountant as your trusted advisor.

Evaluate honesty and reliability

When you hire someone to look after your accounts, you place a considerable amount of trust in their personal integrity and trustworthiness. But how does one evaluate these character traits during an interview?

The best approach is to ask open-ended questions that get your candidate talking about ethical challenges they’ve faced in the workplace, such as:

  • Tell me about a time when you committed an error. How did you handle the situation and what did you learn from it?
  • What would you do if someone else took credit for your work?
  • How would you respond to uncovering an unethical or fraudulent accounting practice in the workplace?

The bottom line is that hiring an accountant is about much more than finding an able number-cruncher. The candidate you choose will be an integral part of your business success. Look holistically at your applicants’ technical skills and character to find your ideal match, and you’ll gain a valuable professional ally for years to come.

Crunchers – Accountants Edinburgh

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