Buying a business | Legal, finance, & accounting advice | 3 min read

How to find an accountant to help when buying a business

You’re interested in buying a small business and you know that eventually you should consult an accountant to help with the purchase. But how soon is too soon? Is it worth waiting until you have a short list of businesses you’re interested in buying, or should you consult one straight way? And when you are ready, how do you find one that suits your needs?

Amanda Newton, a specialist from cloud-based accounting software company, Xero, helped us answer these questions.

Start early in the search phase

“By asking a few poignant questions, a good accountant can help you to find out if you’re even in the ballpark for buying a business. They can give you guidance on what to think about before you get too far down the track. They can also put you in touch with people who can help you in your search journey, such as business brokers,” she says.

The next time you engage an accountant might be when you’ve got your short list of possible businesses to buy and are ready to do your due diligence. It’s important to understand that the time frame between when you’re thinking of buying a business and when you’re ready to do your due diligence could be weeks, or even years.

Start with your personal accountant

Amanda says your personal accountant is a great place to start when it comes to looking for a small business accountant. “I would definitely encourage people to put their personal accountant on their short list of possible small business accountants as they may offer a range of services that you’re not even aware of. If they aren’t the right accountant for your needs, they can often point you in the right direction and can be a great place to get reliable referrals.”

The Xero Advisor Directory

Amanda says the Xero Advisor Directory is another great place to search for a qualified small business accountant. The directory can help you find accountants and bookkeepers who are experienced in your industry or line of business.

Referrals

“Recommendations are also a wonderful way to find a good accountant. For example, you may have a great relationship with your mortgage broker who might be able to recommend a good accountant. Or you could ask a friend who owns a small business who their accountant is.”

Industry Associations

Another avenue for finding a qualified accountant is through the industry associations, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Certified Practising Accountants Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants.

“All have great websites and are a trusted source for finding a qualified accountant to assist you with your small business needs.”

Finding the best accountant at the right time

When looking to find a good small business accountant to partner with, the earlier the better. There are useful resources available to assist you with that search but starting with your personal accountant is the best place to begin.

Want to find out more about specialist small business accountants? Read why you need an accountant to help with your due diligence and what you should look for in a small business accountant.

 

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