Choosing a good accountant in Ireland

When it comes to your business’ tax returns, accounts and deadline management, many business owners rather outsource this obligation rather than take it on themselves. This is because many business owners may not have the expertise to look after the Revenue and CRO requirements and their time can be better spent.

While doing your own accounts can help cut down on expenses when money is tight, in the long-run, it is a good idea to hire a professional rather than take on the role yourself.

Consider your firm’s growth and where your skill set lies. If it is not within accounting or compliance, you should consider finding a good accountant to take care of it.

This guide talks you through how to choose a good accountant in Ireland and the aspects you need to consider before making the decision.

The importance of having an accountant

One of the most important decisions you make when you’re running your own business is finding a good accountant. Accountants play three roles in an organization: operational, strategic and advisory. Not only do they keep records of financial transactions through bookkeeping services, but they also maintain corporate deadlines such as Corporation Tax return, Annual Returns and Directors Return.

Everything you do in your business has some a financial aspect. Therefore having access to a trusted accountant is crucial to minimise issues.

If your accounting is done wrong, this could lead to financial fines and penalties. For example, failure to file your Annual Return with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) could lead to fines up to €1,200 and loss of your audit exemption.

If you weren’t considering hiring an accountant before, you should probably consider it now. While it is possible to do your own bookkeeping and prepare your own financial statements, having professionals take care of it for you means you have time to focus on other aspects of your business.

But how would you select the right person for the job?

Common basis for choosing an accountant

These are the typical first steps business owners take when looking for an accountant:

1. Search by location

In the past, people would hire a local accountant in their local area. However, with accounting now being carried out on computerized systems using special accounting software, this is no longer necessary. It is now possible to look for a good accountant online and select one based on their expertise and knowledge of the industry you are working in. Even if that means your accountant is based in a different city or even country.

Software like Skype, Zoom and even emails mean you can have an accountant anywhere in the world. Location does not need to mean local... choose an accountant that is right for you and don't limit your choice.

2. Search by price

Although you are spending money on an accountant, you are still on a budget. Keeping your expenses under control and making sure your accountant is efficient is important in any Startup or new business. However, even with that in mind, you don’t want to compromise on the quality of the work you receive. Searching for an accountant that is transparent in their fees and offers fixed pricing is a good place to start.

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3. Recommendations and referrals

Since accounting and bookkeeping can include sensitive information about your business, you want to make sure that the person you are hiring for the job is someone you can rely on to keep your information safe. For someone new, you have no way to guarantee whether or not they are reliable. Thus, finding recommendations and referrals for the accountant you choose can make sure that the experience has been satisfactory.

In the past, you would ask people you know personally. Nowadays, you can ensure that an accountant will be satisfactory even if they are not recommended to you by someone you know. Reviews and ratings can be found easily online and give you insight into how other people like you found their experience.

Other things to consider when choosing an accountant

Choosing an accountant can be a tough decision because there is a lot of choice in Ireland. There are accountants who have expertise in certain areas, such as freelancers or Startups, and there are accountants who only offer certain services, such as tax returns.

We have compiled a list of other factors to consider below:

  • Industrial knowledge and expertise
  • Compatibility with your business
  • Qualifications of accountants
  • Proactive to deadline management
  • Range of services on offer

Industrial knowledge and expertise

Different industries have different requirements when it comes to accounting. For example, only Limited Companies need to prepare financial statements and prepare Directors Returns. Having an accountant that focuses on Limited Companies and Startups may be suitable for new businesses who need help understanding what’s required to start a company in Ireland.

Another example is the construction industry. Your accountant may have to account for a large amount and variety of raw materials, and they would focus more on inventory than they would have to in another industry. In the technology sector, there is usually less inventory and more focus on operating expenses and wages. There are also accountants that focus on helping Amazon, Ebay or Etsy sellers and a good accountant can give you advice on running these types of companies in Ireland.

Therefore, you need to consider what kind of industry you belong to, and whether or not the accountant you’re choosing is well versed in your industry. If they are not used to the practices of your industry and sector, then you may want to keep an eye out for someone else.

Compatibility with your business

Of course, compatibility is an essential element to consider when you’re hiring an accountant. Not everyone is compatible with the structure or practices of an organization. For example, if you’re running a Startup that operates remotely, then perhaps working with an online accountant is the best choice for you.

Many of our clients work full-time at the beginning of their Startup journey and therefore it wouldn’t be suitable for them to leave their 9-5 job for a meeting with the accountant. Having an accountant that is flexible and available outside of face-to-face meetings is very important to our clients.

Another thing to consider is that your accountant doesn’t need to be based in Ireland if you have an Irish Limited Company. However, there are different accounting standards around the world. Ireland follows the IFRS Standards, so if you end up hiring an accountant more used to U.S practices, there might be some problems.

Qualifications of accountants

To make sure your online accountant knows what they’re doing, you need to check for qualifications. In Ireland, there are four main bodies for professional accountancy qualifications: Chartered Accountants Ireland, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Choosing an accountant that is a member of one of these institutions can give you confidence they are certified by a recognised body. However, if possible, it would be in your best interests to find an accountant who also has professional experience in the field.

Accountant Online are members of Chartered Accountants Ireland which means we are supervised by this organisation to uphold the highest possible standard for accountancy. You can recognise a Chartered Accountants Ireland member by looking out for this logo on the website:

Proactive to deadline management

There are several accountancy rules for business in Ireland. Due to the many instances of financial fraud, there are very strict laws on how to keep your business compliant in terms of how it operates and manages its finances.

When looking for an accountant, you should consider how proactive they can be in making sure your business is complying to all the laws and regulations for businesses and accounting in Ireland. This includes registering for the appropriate taxes, filing your tax returns on time and communicating to Irish Revenue when necessary.

Instead of finding an accountant who would just do your books for you, you want to make sure that is proactive and accessible on online platforms. They should be able to ensure compliance with all the laws concerning your finances and willing to put in the extra effort of maintaining your records so that Irish Revenue does not have trouble figuring out where your money went and how it came in.

Without this level of proactive behaviour, you might find that you would be spending more time pouring over your books than your accountant.

Range of services on offer

Of course, when it comes to hiring someone to do something for you – whether that’s painting or accounting – you would want to make sure they are offering the services you need.

If you want your accountant to keep records of your expenses and income while offering a well-rounded service, then you would have to make sure that the candidate you have in mind offers them. These services include creating financial statements for your business, providing advice on your company’s financial matters, and providing insight into the current and future state of the economy.

Some accountants do not provide consulting, limiting their services to record-keeping only. If this service is not fulfilling your business needs, you may have to look for someone else. Other accountants may not offer payroll services, meaning you need to work with a different company or do it in-house.

When running a business, hiring staff or outsourcing your company operations, you need to keep an eye out for a lot of tricky things. Running your own business isn’t easy. Fortunately, there are many accountants online that can advise you on how to run your Startup. Looking for an accountant that takes care of everything under the same roof is a big plus for efficiency and practicality.

Find out what accountancy services you need

Accountant Online is a reliable accountancy firm that fulfils the needs of small and medium-scale businesses through its expert remote accounting services for Startups. Register for our free Startup Webinar to gain more knowledge regarding the Startup process and all the possible accounting issues that entail.

If you would like to know more about the services we offer or if you have questions on how to start a business in Ireland, call us on +353 1 905 9364 or email us on