This is a quick checklist of a few things that you, as a new business, should expect to ask your accountant (or potential accountant).
1. What will you do to help my business?
2. What guarantees do you offer?
3. Do you offer fixed prices?
4. How long will it take you to prepare a set of accounts?
5. Can I expect to have a tax planning meeting before my year end?
6. Will you recommend my business to others?
7. Can you show me some testimonials / case studies from existing customers?
8. How often can I expect to see / hear from you?
9. Can you refer other people who can help my business?
10. Can I expect to receive proactive advice?
Answers / explanations - what you should hear when you ask these questions.
1. They should list a number of things, possibly even answering some of the other questions. A good response would include, introducing you to other professionals, potential customers and networking groups; referring your business to other customers of theirs; proactive advice and support - recognising that you might not know the right question to ask, so they shouldn't wait until you ask to offer advice where relevant.
2. Again expect several, around services standards, turnaround time for work etc.
4. 30 days (60 max)
5. Yes, as standard (and included in fee)
6. Yes, its our policy to do so.
7. Yes, they should have a selection. (The fact that they ask for them will also tell you something about the type of firm they are ie forward thinking, proactive)
8. This should be more than once a year! You should at least expect newsletters, occasional invitations or recommendations even if you don't have any work done during the year.
9. Yes, they should have a network of reliable professionals who can help you.
Julia McDaid is a business coach and author, specialising in helping business start ups. For more information on these issues or on coaching for new business owners, see www.startupright.co.uk">http://www.startupright.co.uk or enrol on Julia's unique Start Up 101 ecourse, where you can go into each question in a lot more depth.
Julia also publishes a free ezine 'Secrets of the Successful Entrepreneur' - to sign up just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
President says if anybody was linked to operation âit would be himâ as US curbs 21 Saudi officialsâ visas and mulls more sanctions
Donald Trump has said for the first time that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman could have been involved in the operation to kill dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi noting that âthe prince is running things over thereâ in Riyadh.
The comments, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, appeared to mark a shift in the presidentâs view of Khashoggiâs murder on 2 October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He has hitherto appeared to take Saudi royal denials of involvement at face value. But on a day the state department announced it would sanction Saudi officials implicated in the writerâs death, the president appeared to give the benefit of the doubt to King Salman but not necessarily to his powerful son.
Downing Street describes discussion of time-limited Brexit backstop at longer-than-usual meeting as âimpassionedâ
Theresa May has presided over a stormy meeting of her cabinet at which several ministers insisted she negotiate with the EU a time limit to any Brexit backstop, intensifying the pressure on her to obtain a divorce deal she can sell to her own party.
No 10 sources conceded that the discussion, which came a day before the prime minister was due to plead for support from Tory MPs at a meeting of the partyâs 1922 committee, was âimpassionedâ. Others characterised it as a row.
Despite Trumpâs claims of criminals and âMiddle Easternersâ, the migrants heading north through Mexico tell of lives made impossible by gangs, violence, poverty and corruption
Still bleary-eyed after a night camped out in a rain-soaked town square, Miriam Carranza combed the knots out of her daughterâs hair and listed the many challenges of life back in Honduras: the low pay and precarious job security at the maquiladora factory; the soaring inflation; the rampant insecurity.
But the final straw came when a local gang demanded payment of a âwar taxâ that far exceeded the income of Carranza and her construction worker husband.
Police and department of conservation appeal to locals to share knowledge with visitors, after a spate of avoidable deaths
New Zealanders are being called on to talk to tourists in hotels, pubs and shops to educate them about the dangers of the nationâs countryside, after a spate of emergency rescues and fatalities.
Police and the Department of Conservation [DOC] have taken the unusual step of appealing to Kiwis to tap into their famed friendliness and share their local knowledge with visitors, after an Indian man died this month on the popular Tongariro alpine crossing, the second preventable death in the area in weeks.
Dozens of Russian fans of CSKA Moscow were hurt when metro station escalator collapsed
Authorities in Rome have launched two investigations after 24 fans of the CSKA Moscow football team were injured when a crowded escalator suddenly sped up then collapsed, hurling people down the staircase.
One of the fans, who was in the Italian capital for his teamâs Champions League game against AS Roma, had his foot amputated in the incident at Repubblica station on Tuesday evening in what one witness described as âa scene from apocalypseâ.
Man placed under house arrest after attack at Bellingshausen station on King George island
A researcher at Russiaâs Antarctic station has allegedly stabbed and injured a colleague, possibly after an emotional breakdown, the Interfax news agency has reported.
The incident allegedly occurred on 9 October in the canteen of Bellingshausen station on King George Island, the agency said on Tuesday. It said the suspect voluntarily surrendered to the station manager without resistance.
Tax policy raises price of food and dents support from presidentâs usual base
His domestic reputation has survived a brutal drug war that took thousands of lives, an attack on God as âstupidâ, jokes about rape and a barrage of misogynistic comments.
But now the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, faces the first serious dip in his popularity ratings amid soaring inflation, which has caused the price of some everyday items such as rice, bread and fuel to double.
Study finds large variation in shape of birth canals around world â with implications for description of birth used in standard textbooks
A focus on western women has skewed our understanding of evolution and twisted ideas of what birth should look like, scientists say.
Researchers have found a large variation in the shape of the birth canal between women from different parts of the world â a finding they say has implications both for our understanding of how the pelvis has evolved and our ideas about how babies should move as they leave the womb.
The far-right leader allegedly told his wife: âThe only language women understand is violenceâ
The wife of the white nationalist Richard Spencer has accused him of emotional and physical abuse, including choking her, dragging her by her hair and attempting to punch her while she was pregnant, according to divorce filings in the Flathead county district court in Montana.
âOne of [Spencerâs] favorite statements to me is, âThe only language women understand is violence,ââ Spencerâs wife Nina Koupriianova alleged in divorce filings. She claimed he called her âgenetically defectiveâ and a âparasiteâ, and that he verbally abused her in front of their young daughter.
Forests in the region of Raub in Malaysia are being burned and cleared to make way for durian plantations
The habitat of one of the worldâs most endangered tigers is under threat, according to environmental groups, as forests in Malaysia are cleared to meet growing demand for durians, the divisively pungent fruit hugely popular in China.
Forests in the region of Raub in Malaysia, which has become a popular destination for Chinese and Singapore tourists on âdurian toursâ, are being burned and cleared to make way for plantations to grow the Musang King variety of the spiky but stinky fruit.
Atlanta is known as a city where they would knock down a historic building to put up a parking lot. We look at whatâs gone and what might be next
âWe really are a tear down city,â says Boyd Coons, executive director of the Atlanta Preservation Center. âItâs not difficult for people to knock down a historic building in Atlanta. In fact, itâs quite easy.â
Weâre talking in the restored rooms of an 1856 Italianate mansion built for railroad magnate Lemuel P Grant. One of only three pre-Civil War structures to survive General Shermanâs burning of Atlanta, it had been neglected for decades and was scheduled for demolition when the APC bought it in 2001. They saved the first floor and it is now their headquarters.
Atlanta was the first US city to build public housing â and the first to knock it all down. Now, with rampant property speculation in black working-class areas, longtime residents are being priced out â and advocates say the racial dynamics are unsettling
Ahmad Cheers remembers the day a few years back when he knew his neighborhood was in the throes of change. He noticed a group of bikers, mostly white, riding though the northern tip of Pittsburgh, Atlanta, well after dark.
In some other parts of the city that may not have been remarkable, but here it took him aback.
In a state where the other football is practically a religion, the upstart Atlanta United are drawing huge crowds â and rewriting the story of a city of transplants
Photography by Ben Rollins
Itâs more than four hours before kickoff at Mercedes-Benz stadium in downtown Atlanta on an unseasonably balmy October morning. The sprawling parking area known as the Gulch is bursting with activity, the sort of raucous, well-lubricated tailgate scene more commonly associated with Americaâs two most popular sports: the NFL and college football.
Football is indeed the dayâs feature attraction, but not the brand traditionally linked to the deep south. Instead, red-clad fans numbering in the thousands have descended on the ground-level asphalt patch beneath a tangle of overpasses in support of Atlanta United, the nascent Major League Soccer (MLS) club thatâs become the most improbable phenomenon in American sports today â and a vibrant symbol of a new Atlanta.
Apartment platform accused of becoming marketing site for big hotels and holiday rental agents
One Airbnb âhostâ manages a portfolio of 204 apartments in Barcelona worth âŹ37,721 (ÂŁ33,369) a day in rental income during the high season, a data organisation established to look into Spainâs tourist apartment industry has found.
The 10 biggest hosts in the Spanish city manage 996 apartments between them, while a further 666 manage five or more, and 3,633 host between two and four, the report by DataHippo found. Altogether the rent for licensed holiday apartments let via Airbnb and other platforms comes to âŹ1.5m a day.
Nation embraces internet trend that involves posing face down after apparently tripping over while stepping out of a luxury car or plane
In a video posted online at the weekend, a young woman appears to have fallen out of the driverâs seat of a white car. Her sunglasses are askew and one of her red-soled heels has come off. Tubes of expensive lipstick, a purse, and a shopping bag lie strewn around her. A street cleaner passing by stops and asks: âHey Miss, you still want this stuff or do you want me to clean it up?â
The woman in the video, posted from Xiâan in central China, was participating in Chinaâs latest internet trend, the xuanfu tiaozhan, or âflaunt your wealth challenge.â
Study suggests biopesticides should be trialled to control the march of armyworm thatâs destroying crops across the continent
Experts have identified safer, effective pesticides they believe can control a plague of caterpillars that is devastating crops across Africa.
Many farmers are attempting to control armyworm â a pest that feasts on maize, rice and sugarcane â through the use of highly hazardous pesticides. But researchers warn such chemicals risk severe harm to health and to the environment, and that farmers should be offered sustainable alternatives.
Plane used for air shows, memorials and other events
A pilot escaped injury after his vintage single-engine plane crashed and burst into flames on a southern California freeway Tuesday, authorities said.
The North American AT-6 was painted with second-world-war-era German air force markings, said Chris Rushing, president of Condor Squadron. The plane belonged to the group, which performs mock dogfights for air shows and flies in formation over parades, memorial services and events commemorating veterans, Rushing said.
Naval base considered a potential strategic asset as Australia tries to contain Chinaâs influence in Pacific
Defence officials have been deployed on a âscoping visitâ to Manus Island as Australia and Papua New Guinea work on plans to develop a joint naval base.
Department of Defence officers were sent to survey the Lombrum base between 28 August and 30 August, after the PNG prime minister, Peter OâNeill, expressed interest in working with Australia to redevelop the site as a joint facility.
Prominent rural advocates have become increasingly vocal over a potential return of Barnaby Joyce to the National party leadership as the prospect of a concerted independent push in rural areas gains momentum after the Wentworth byelection.
A nascent political movement, Anyone But Nats, has started to run advertising across northern NSW ahead of the 2019 state and federal elections. It has been funded by the IT businessman, Charles Tym, whose family has donated $20,000 to fund 400 advertising spots across regional television stations.
For those keeping count of the unnecessary branding road Scott Morrison is forcing us all down, âfair go/fair dinkumâ was used 10 times in the press conference he held this morning with Angus Taylor.
Shopkeepers and vendors fear a hefty fine from inspectors who are tasked with keeping the Indian city free of plastic bags
At 10am on a muggy October morning, Crawford Market, one of Mumbaiâs oldest, is stirring into life.
In a first floor office inside the complex, the feared âblue squadâ has assembled, forming a semi-circle around their boss, Anand Shinde, who is pumping them up. At 10.30am, the phalanx, dressed in blue uniforms, hurries down the wooden staircase and hits the streets around the market. Their target: shopkeepers and street vendors using plastic bags.
Peace prize winner Tawakkol Karman, a friend of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, says his death will bring change in the region as long as the crown prince is held to account
The death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi must now galvanise greater scrutiny of Saudi Arabiaâs military intervention in Yemen, where a coalition led by the kingdom is fighting Houthi rebels, said Yemeni Nobel laureate and human rights advocate Tawakkol Karman.
âJamal Khashoggiâs death cannot go unpunished. His blood should lead to the prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime, who are the same perpetrators of the crime against millions of people in Yemen â that is the Saudi kingdom,â said Karman, journalist and a leader of the Arab Spring in Yemen in 2011.
Born with a rare condition that affects limb development, Wendabo was disowned by her father and shunned by neighbours. Now the 12-year-old is at school and thriving, thanks to local support
AngĂšle Bouda was walking through the market in Gogo, near the district capital Manga, when she saw the crowd. People were gathered around, clapping a young girl with severe disabilities who was dancing to music as her mother collected money from onlookers.
Bouda, who works with disabled people, was intrigued by the little family and stayed behind to talk to Wendabo, aged eight at the time, and her mother Pascaline. It is unusual for disabled children in Burkina Faso to be so visible; normally, Boudaâs team have to go door to door to find children who are kept hidden away.
Questions raised about workplace culture as organisation awaits outcome of further investigation into death of GaĂ«tan Mootoo
An Amnesty International researcher who killed himself in his Paris office repeatedly asked for help, but his requests âfell on deaf earsâ, according to documents from a French investigation seen by the Guardian.
The conclusions of an Amnesty France inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of GaĂ«tan Mootoo raise questions over the duty of care towards staff at the human rights organisation. A separate investigation by the French state linked Mootooâs death to his work, the Guardian understands.
As president presents vision of lawless nation, fellow Republicans follow his lead by fueling anxiety over race
Donald Trump is returning to the inflammatory playbook that helped lift him to victory nearly two years ago, waging a campaign of fear and racial division in an effort to save his partyâs majorities in Congress.
With two weeks left before the midterm elections, Trump is amplifying a dark vision of what the country could look like if Democrats gain control in Congress. At campaign rallies, on Twitter and in his public commentary, he has issued urgent â if groundless â warnings about terrorists at the border, a socialist takeover and rampant crime.
Turkish leader appears to tread carefully when it comes to revealing evidence but clearly wants answers
Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan had billed his speech in the Turkish parliament as the moment that the ânaked truthâ would come out over the death of Jamal Khashoggi. Instead, the circumstances remain partially clothed.
Turkeyâs president offered little in the way of new detail on the investigation into the death of the Washington Post journalist and Saudi regime critic, and excerpts from a much-discussed audio of the moment of the killing remained under wraps on Tuesday.
The president has made several false and misleading claims about the Central American migrants travelling to the US border
Donald Trump is not hiding his ambition to conflate the caravan of around 7,000 migrants heading towards the US border with other issues in order to drum up support for Republicans in the forthcoming midterm elections.
In his bid to make the caravan an election issue, Trump has made a number of false and misleading claims about the migrants that are travelling in it.
At about noon on Tuesday two regional leaders are due to make landmark addresses. In Riyadh, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, will open an investment showpiece declaring the kingdom open for business. In Ankara, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan, is expected to make a speech that may well shut down the beleaguered kingdom.
Such are the stakes when ErdoÄan takes to a podium to discuss the death of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi that the region may not be the same when heâs finished.
Donald Trump has criticised the apparent Saudi plot to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi, calling it one of the âworst in the history of cover-upsâ. Trump told reporters he expected a full report on Khashoggiâs death soon. Saudi Arabia has claimed Khashoggiâs death was accidental, while Turkish officials say a 15-man hit squad was used to kill the journalist
Russian football fans were hurt after an escalator broke at a Rome metro station on Tuesday. Twenty people have been injured, one seriously, with the majority of them being CSKA Moscow fans. In the footage the escalator seems to speed up suddenly, hurting people towards the bottom of the stairs
The $20bn (ÂŁ15bn) Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau sea bridge, the worldâs longest, has been officially opened. Critics say the 34 mile (55km) construction, connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland, is an attempt to integrate Hong Kong into China as fears grow that the cityâs cherished freedoms are being eroded
CNN has released CCTV footage of a man wearing what appear to be the clothes of the murdered Saudi journalist. The US broadcaster cited a Turkish official as saying the man was Mustafa al-Madani, who was a member of a 15-man Saudi team sent to target Khashoggi
On election night on 12 June Ismaele La Vardera secured just 2.7% of the vote in his campaign to become mayor of Palermo, in Sicily. But there was a twist in the tale: he had taken a hidden camera with him on the campaign trail, and recorded his experience.
The footage has been made into a documentary called Italian Politics for Dummies. Scheduled for release at the end of November, the film shines a light on the workings of Italyâs populist parties, as well as alleged mafia interference.
Carriages are strewn at angles across and away from the track, some on their side, in this aerial footage of the scene after an express train was derailed in Taiwan. Eighteen people died and more than 170 were injured when the Puyuma service, carrying at least 366 passengers from a Taipei suburb toward Taitung, was derailed
A man on a Ryanair plane has been filmed calling a woman sitting in the same row an 'ugly black bastard', and shouting 'donât talk to me in a foreign language' when she spoke to him in English with a Jamaican accent. The airline, criticised for not removing the abusive passenger, has referred the incident to Essex police
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