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Take care of the finance; ACCOUNTING FOR YOUR MONEY.

WHETHER you work for yourself or you are part of a large organisation, it is essential that you have the best people working for you to help manage your finances.

Finding the right accountant can seem daunting but it is worth putting in the effort to find someone competent and reliable to ensure your finances are in safe hands.

Anyone can call themselves an accountant but to call yourself a chartered accountant and use the official letters ACA or FCA after your name you need to fulfil two main criteria.

A qualified accountant has to undertake at least three years training with a firm authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has to pass stringent exams on financial management, auditing, business strategy, taxation and IT.

John Crompton of Caldwell Crompton chartered accountants says that communication is the key to building a good relationship with your accountant.

``It is crucial that you find someone you can get on with personally as you need to build a close working relationship with them. Your accountant should also be willing to take the trouble to explain things clearly to you in a way you can understand. It is a complete waste of time and money if you don't understand what your accountant is talking about!''

Taxation is something of a minefield and there are strict deadlines with returning tax forms and specific guidelines as to the information required. If you are late getting your forms in then you can face swingeing fines and giving incorrect information whether knowingly or not can lead to prosecution.

Similarly, auditing can prove complicated and costly to any company and having professional accounting back-up can help reduce the overall costs to the company.

Accountants also give general financial advice to businesses about how best to deploy their finances and how to invest wisely for the future.

Steve Austin from Mitchell Charlesworth emphasises the need to let your accountant know what you want from them rather than the other way round.

``We can attend as little or as often as you require and also offer assistance over the phone. This ensures that problems are dealt with as they arise. We work closely with our clients through-out the year and our ultimate aim is to maximise the benefits from your business and minimise the tax you pay.''

You may begrudge paying out for an accountant but it is a worthwhile and necessary investment which in the long run could help save your company money and help your business grow.

Top tips for finding the right accountant: L A good way to find an accountant is by word of mouth so ask around for any personal recommendations.

L Another way is to check out firms approved by the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Try their website at L Find out exactly what services the accountant provides and be clear about what you want from them.

L If you are a small firm then stick with a small firm of accountants and for larger companies go for accountants who can cater for your needs.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 24, 2002
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