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7 Credentials You Should Look for in a Small Business Accountant

Updated: Apr 23



Accountants are crucial to the success and sustainability of the small businesses that hold up New Zealand’s economy. Many small enterprises in NZ look to these professionals to manage their finances, attain compliance with tax laws, and provide strategic advice for growth.


Considering the important role accountants play in ensuring smooth business operations, it’s a must for enterprise owners to evaluate the accounting companies they can work with before entrusting the latter with their financial information. It’s definitely in your own business’s best interest to weigh the skills and credentials of the small business accountant Queenstown company in your list of options, all so that you can have confidence that you’ll receive the expertise and support you truly need.


To that end, here’s a list of the things you should specifically try to find when assessing your options:



shaking hands


1. Certifications and Memberships


New Zealand maintains strict standards for accounting credentials to ensure professionalism and competence in the field. Accountants practising in the country may have the designation Chartered Accountant (CA), which is awarded by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), which is from CPA Australia. 


These qualifications demonstrate that the accountants have undergone rigorous training and adhere to strict professional standards. In addition, accountants should also possess degrees in accounting or finance and engage in ongoing professional development to stay up-to-date on any changes in the country’s accounting standards, tax laws, and regulations.


2. Relevant Experience


Aside from checking for membership to professional accounting bodies, it’s also important to look for accounting companies with a proven track record of working with local small businesses, preferably within your industry.


Experience matters because it means the company understands the unique challenges and opportunities that small businesses like yours face. An accountant with experience in your industry will be better equipped to provide tailored advice and solutions to help your business succeed.


To check for relevant experience, ask for case studies or references from clients in similar industries. In addition, inquire about the company’s longevity and stability in the market, as this can also be indicative of their experience and reputation.


3. Knowledge of NZ Tax Laws and Regulations


NZ has complex tax laws and regulations that can be challenging for small businesses to navigate on their own. Therefore, it's essential to choose an accounting company with a thorough understanding of the local tax laws and regulations, plus the know-how to relay these to business clients in a straightforward manner.


An accountant with expertise in tax matters can help you optimise your tax strategy, figure out how to minimise your liabilities and ensure compliance with any reporting requirements you need to follow. To assess the company's knowledge of tax laws, ask about their accountants’ experience with tax planning, compliance, and any specific cases that the team has handled related to taxation.


Also, don’t hesitate to ask about the company’s approach to staying updated on changes in tax laws and how it communicates these changes to clients to ensure that all compliance needs are safely met.



computing taxes


4. Technological Proficiency


Proficiency in using technology is a hard requirement for efficient, accurate, and value-adding accounting services in this age. To ensure that your business can benefit from the convenience and accuracy afforded by contemporary digital tools, look for accounting companies that are masters of the latest accounting software and technologies.


A company that embraces technology can offer benefits such as real-time financial reporting, automated bookkeeping, and secure data storage for your financial data. You can assess a company’s capability in this matter by inquiring about the accounting software the team uses and whether cloud-based solutions are available for remote access and collaboration.


5. Communication Skills


Sustaining a successful client-accountant relationship requires effective communication, especially on the latter’s part. When evaluating accounting companies, then consider each company’s communication style, track record for responsiveness, and ability to explain complex financial concepts in a clear and understandable manner.


Choose a company that communicates proactively, promptly responds to your inquiries, and provides regular updates on your financial status. Remember: good communication is a cornerstone for trust and collaboration with your accountant, enabling you to work closely and in harmony with them to achieve your business goals.



analysing business operations



6. Client References


One of the most reliable ways to assess an accounting company’s credentials is by seeking client references. These offer firsthand accounts of the company's performance and can help you make an informed decision when choosing an accounting partner for your small business.


Ask the company to provide references from current or past clients, ideally those with similar business profiles or needs as yours. Speaking directly with other clients can also provide you with valuable insights into the company’s expertise, reliability, and customer service.


7. Customised Services


Small businesses have unique financial needs and challenges, so it's essential to choose an accounting company that offers customised services that align with your specific requirements for doing business. Find a company that takes the time to understand your business goals, challenges, and opportunities before proposing solutions to you.


An accounting services provider that offers personalised services can help your enterprise get strategic advice and aid in proactive planning. To assess the company’s ability to offer customised services, inquire about its approach to client engagement and whether the team of accountants has experience working with businesses similar to yours. Also, consider whether the company offers additional services beyond traditional accounting, such as business advisory, financial planning, or succession planning.



The effort you put into selecting an accounting company that matches your needs will eventually pay dividends in the form of improved financial management, compliance, and business growth opportunities. Knowing the track record and roster of talent at Target Accounting, we are the right people to choose for your small business’s financial matters.



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