There are many players in the market providing the routine accounting functions and choosing the wrong one could do more harm than good to your business. The risk in choosing accountants can be reduced by looking for:

Chartered accountants – registered with SAICA or IRBA
Chartered accountants are professionally qualified and registered with SAICA or both SAICA and IRBA. Membership of these professional bodies can be verified by logging on the accounting or auditing body’s website or by contacting them directly. Professional bodies are standard setting and monitoring.

A practice registered with an accounting body for chartered accountants
A practice registered with a professional body has a practice number and the registration of the practice can be verified with the applicable body.

Commercial experienced
Accountants with commercial experience (as opposed to traditional accounting firms) within a variety of industries, in other words someone that’s been round the block, are more likely to understand your business.

They will have a different level of awareness of processes, operations and the impact of not getting things right and on time.

Communicate in everyday language
The accountant must talk everyday language and don’t throw you with financial jargon – that smoke and mirrors. Do they tell you about IFRS and statements when you worry about the quantum of stock in the warehouse or in transit?

Independence
Auditors are not allowed to audit their own work. Therefore your auditors can’t be your accountants as well.

Value to expect from accountants
Even if you outsource your taxes and accounting, you are ultimately still responsible for the integrity and accuracy of your accounts and taxes. It is therefore imperative that your accountant discuss and explain financial results with you on a regular basis and provide you with full access to all your information at any time. Financial information is the monitor of the business and can’t be logged behind passwords allowing you only sneak views. Some of the value to expect from an accounting service:

  • Regular updates on submission deadlines for SARS, CIPC, AFS, PAYE, etc.
  • Update of all accounting records as at agreed intervals, normally monthly
  • Management accounts
  • Discussions on the performance of the business
  • Suggestions and information sharing on accounting and tax matters impacting your business
  • Assistance with the selection and appointment of auditors, managing of the audit and related fees
  • Assistance with the selection and appointment of consultants as and when required e.g. specialised tax advice, system implementations
  • To tell you when they are not equipped to provide a certain service