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Tuesday 27 September 2016
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We are considering changing our accountants and would like some advice on what we should be looking for in a new provider?

A: Primarily you should be looking for an accountant who has experience of and understands the medical profession. The medical sector is a highly specialised area with intricate tax, accounts and pension arrangements requiring full mastery.

There are also different issues, objectives, aspirations and terminology to most other businesses. To have an accountant who fully understands the key aspects of the medical profession and has established contacts with the various healthcare provider organisations is vital if you want to ensure that your practice's interests are properly looked after.
 
You also need to have an accountant who you feel comfortable working with on a personal level. It is conducive to a successful working relationship if you feel at ease with your accountant; you trust them to put your practice's interests first; they fully understand your primary objectives and you have a good rapport with them and feel comfortable picking up the phone to ask them for advice at any time.
 
The size and cost of the accountancy firm are also factors that need to be considered and should be matched to their requirements and aspirations of your practice. You will need to ensure that the accountancy firm has adequate resources in order to be able to provide the required level of service to your practice at a reasonable cost. So, for example, a large medical practice may find that a small accountancy firm lacks the staff resources to be able to properly look after the practice's affairs. Conversely, a small medical practice may find a large accountancy firm's fees are too high for the practice and it is possible that they may not received the undivided attention of the large firm, who may have "bigger fish to fry".
 
It is therefore important to research the potential candidates before making any final decisions. Resources available for this include advertisements in medical journals; internet searches for more information and accountancy firm websites; speaking to other medical practices in the area for recommendations and requesting references from existing clients of accountancy firms.