This question goes together with the one – how to choose the right accountant at the outset. So how do I know if I am with the right accountant? There could be a number of factors that could impact this decision like location, what software do they use, are they a member of one of the accounting professions, what is their area of expertise and level of experience. Then there is the method of charging for work done, whether there is the opportunity to pay monthly rather than annually, and of, course good value for fees charged. Probably the most important factor is whether you feel confident in entrusting your personal information to them.
With the growth of the internet and cloud accounting location is less important than it once was as a fair amount of communication is now electronic. There is still the issue of face to face meetings from time to time though and either the accountant or the client may need to travel as a result. With most people now having their records on the cloud there is less call to drop off records as there used to be.
As far as software is concerned most good accountants will cover the major software suppliers like Xero, MYOB, and QuickBooks etc. Some may specialise in a particular industry based program, for example, construction industry software and if you are in this situation it could be a deciding factor.
Other considerations may be whether they have a specialty or interest in your particular industry, e.g. real estate or medical practitioners; or a particular strength in some sector like self-managed superannuation, or investment properties.
There are, as in most industries, good and bad accountants and the quality is often reflected in their pricing structure. If prices seem to be far too cheap this may be a reflection of the quality of service you should expect. The values added by good accountants far outweigh the costs, particularly for businesses that are successful, or intending to be. It is difficult to provide a proactive service if constrained by low fees. The ability to pay monthly helps to allow for good quality service within your cash flow budget.
Ultimately though, it all comes back to personal relationships. You need to feel confident that the accountant has your interests at heart and always acts in your best interest. If you are running your own business you probably have good intuition as to whether you feel you can deal with the accountant for the foreseeable future.
Also read: Why did the previous Accountant say that?