A. Define your immediate needs and the time frame in which they must be handled. To illustrate this point, if, for example, the tax department is demanding a tax return, the time frame is probably less flexible than if you are planning a new business venture.
B. Establish what functions you require the accountant or management consultant to fulfill. This list could include the following but not limited thereto:
- Preparation, review or audit of financial statements at least on an annual basis;
- Tax planning and preparation of tax returns for both corporate and personal tax;
- Review of your present accounting information and projections;
- Assistance with cash flow statements;
- Assistance in dealing with the tax authorities and other regulatory agencies;
- Assistance in presentations to your Banker;
- Review of lease versus purchase decisions;
- Evaluation of a business sale or purchase;
- Provide litigation accounting support;
- Planning for change in business organization such as the incorporation of a proprietorship or partnership or initiating an IPO; and
- Development of a personal financial plan.
C. Assess your level of management and accounting knowledge. If you have little background in managing and accounting be sure the accountant or management consultant you choose can explain accounting, finance and management concepts and or new ideas in a simple yet effective manner. An expert that you cannot understand will be of little help regardless of his or her technical correctness concerning the advice.
D. Determine how accessible you wish your accountant or management consultant to be in all instances. If you are in a crisis situation, you may need someone who will be available by telephone or by appointment immediately. Do you need to go to service providers' office? If so, is it a convenient location? Alternatively, you may wish the professional(s) to come to your place of business, in the name of convenience, even though this may incur extra cost.
Proceed to the Decision Criteria