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 email@example.com
Dominic Cummings is facing a possible police investigation under health laws over a claim that he breached self-isolation rules in north-east England, after a weekend of mounting pressure on the prime minister to sack his chief adviser.
Retired chemistry teacher Robin Lees made a complaint to the police after reporting that he saw Cummings and his family on 12 April walking in the town of Barnard Castle before getting into a car, a joint investigation by the Guardian and Mirror can reveal.
In the US, discrepancies in how different states are reporting testing and infection figures is causing âfrustration and confusionâ, AP reports.
Elected officials, businesses and others are depending on coronavirus testing and infection-rate data as states reopen so that they will know if a second wave of contagion is coming and whether another round of stay-at-home orders or closings might be needed.
But states are reporting those figures in different ways, and that can lead to frustration and confusion about what the numbers mean.
âEid is not Eid with the atmosphere of coronavirus - people feel a sense of fear,â worshipper Akram Taher said in Gaza.
Muslims around the world have been marking a sombre Eid al-Fitr, as coronavirus lockdowns worldwide restrict celebrations.
The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, was branded a âkillerâ by his opponents as he popped out for a Saturday night hot dog on the day a further 965 of his citizens were reported to have died from Covid-19.
Bolsonaro, a rightwing populist who basks in comparisons to Donald Trump, has repeatedly flouted health ministry physical distancing guidelines â and continued to do so this weekend, even as Brazilâs coronavirus death toll rose to over 22,000.
The predecessor of Swedenâs state epidemiologist has broken her silence on the countryâs controversial coronavirus strategy, saying she now believes the authorities should have put in place tougher restrictions in the early stages of the pandemic to bring the virus under control.
Annika Linde, who oversaw Swedenâs response to swine flu and Sars as state epidemiologist from 2005 to 2013, had until now expressed support for her countryâs approach under her successor, Anders Tegnell.
But she has now become the first member of the public health establishment to break ranks, saying she has changed her mind as a result of Swedenâs relatively high death toll compared with that of its neighbours, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.
âI think that we needed more time for preparedness. If we had shut down very early ... we would have been able, during that time, to make sure that we had what was necessary to protect the vulnerable,â Linde told the Observer.
Israeli PM could face more than a decade in prison if convicted in three separate cases
Defiantly railing against attempts to âoverthrowâ him before donning a face mask to enter court, Benjamin Netanyahu sat for the first day of his high-profile corruption trial, which threatens to put Israelâs longest-serving leader behind bars and open deep divisions within the country.
Speaking in the corridors of the courthouse ahead of the hearing, Netanyahu decried police and prosecutors he accused of attempting to topple him. âWhen there is a strong rightwing leader like me, everything is permitted to bring him down,â he said, flanked by loyal ministers. âThis is an attempt to overthrow us.â
China says it will rush through anti-sedition law as police fire teargas at protesters
Beijing has vowed to force controversial national security laws on Hong Kong âwithout the slightest delayâ as police in the semi-autonomous territory fired teargas at protesters demonstrating against the unprecedented decision.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinaâs foreign minister, Wang Yi, said enacting the proposed anti-sedition law to stop anti-government protests that have persisted for the past year had become a âpressing obligationâ.
Foreign minister accuses Washington of damaging relationship with Beijing
The prospects of a trade war between China and the western economies ratcheted up on Sunday as Beijing accused the US of pushing relations towards a ânew cold warâ.
âChina has no intention to change, still less replace the United States,â Chinaâs foreign minister, Wang Yi, said on Sunday in the latest escalation in tensions between the worldâs two largest economies. âItâs time for the United States to give up its wishful thinking of changing China and stopping 1.4 billion people in their historic march toward modernisation.â
Streaming service must convince podcast listeners to switch from their favourite app
Joe Rogan, the comedian, MMA commentator and podcaster, may seem an unlikely prospect for becoming the worldâs highest paid broadcaster. But after signing an exclusive deal with Spotify, that is what he may have become, marking a new era for podcasting in the process.
To much of the world, Roganâs name is most associated with the periodic furores that erupt from the marathon interviews around which his podcast is structured.
Bushfires and Covid-19 highlight connection between human health and natural world, states letter by almost 200 doctors and scientists
Leading health professionals, including a Nobel laureate and a former Australian of the Year, say the government must put human health âfront and centreâ in a new generation of environment laws in the aftermath of the Covid-19 and bushfire crises.
The Nobel prize-winning immunologist Peter Doherty and the epidemiologist and former Australian of the Year Fiona Stanley are among 180 professionals who have warned the government that Australiaâs âfailingâ environmental laws will fuel further public health crises.
Falcon 9 rocket to make history as billionaire seeks to commercialise space travel
Elon Muskâs SpaceX company hopes to make history on Wednesday by launching the first astronauts into space from US soil in nine years, as the billionaire takes the next step in his dream to commercialise space travel.
Donald Trump will be among the spectators at Kennedy space centre in Florida to witness the launch, which has been given the green light despite the coronavirus lockdown.
Val Demings, a Democratic representative from Florida among contenders to be Joe Bidenâs presidential running mate, has castigated Donald Trump for having the âgall and nerveâ to use a gaffe by Biden as a weapon on the campaign trail.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Mangga expected to bring 100km/h winds, heavy rain and massive waves along a 3,000km stretch of coast
A massive âonce-in-a-decadeâ storm is expected to hit Australiaâs entire west coast on Sunday and Monday, bringing potentially dangerous conditions and prompting authorities to place defence force units on standby.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the storm â the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Mangga combined with a cold front â represented an âunusually widespread severe weather eventâ.
The Senakw development aims to ease the cityâs chronic housing crisis â and to challenge the mindset that indigeneity and urbanity are incompatible
The scrubby, vacant patch beneath the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver looks at first glance like a typical example of the type of derelict nook common to all cities: 11.7 acres of former railway lands, over which tens of thousands of people drive every day.
This is not any old swath of underused space, however. Itâs one of Canadaâs smallest First Nations reserves, where dozens of Squamish families once lived. The village was destroyed by provincial authorities more than a century ago.
Amazon have arrived in force in rapidly expanding Hyderabad, with designs on the currently almost non-existent Indian e-commence market
The futuristic lobby of the new Amazon building in Hyderabad feels as though it should have a permanent orchestra blasting out Also Sprach Zarathustra. The scale is intended to awe. A large slogan on a wall suggests the company is âDelivering smilesâ. The only sound that rises above the hush is a synthesised beep, coming from a giant screen playing a video of the campus at various stages of its construction.
Built on nine acres in this Indian cityâs financial district, it is Amazonâs single largest building globally and the only Amazon-owned campus outside the US. It can house over 15,000 employees, but its size is its main architectural feature: it resembles the same cube of glass steel and chrome seen in corporate offices across Hyderabad, though a flash of magenta reflected in one of the top floor windows, from a billowing sari across the road, is a nice Indian touch.
Minibuses that run on Friday evenings and Saturdays buck stateâs religious restrictions
Tel Aviv is one of Israelâs most dynamic cities, but the latest local craze could appear fairly humdrum to outsiders â a bus service that runs at weekends.
Packed 19-seat minibuses fill up fast with passengers, who excitedly gossip about the new routes. People patiently queue at bus stops, knowing they might have to wait for two or three buses to pass before there is a space. Still, they are upbeat. âItâs a pleasure,â said Ben Uzan, a 30-year-old electronic engineer. âItâs a blessed initiative.â
The Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, India, is helping to tackle the countryâs plastic waste problem â and their novel idea is catching on
On bad days, when his employer made some excuse for not paying him his paltry daily wage, Ram Yadavâs main meal used to be dry chapatis, with salt and raw onion for flavour. Sometimes he just went hungry. For a ragpicker like him, one of the thousands of Indians who make a living bringing in plastic waste for recycling, eating in a cafe or restaurant was the stuff of fairytales.
But last week, Yadav was sitting at a table at the Garbage Cafe in Ambikapur, in the state of Chhattisgarh, over a piping hot meal of dal, aloo gobi, poppadoms and rice. He earned the food in exchange for bringing in 1kg of plastic waste. âThe hot meal I get here lasts me all day. And it feels good to sit at a table like everyone else,â he said.
There has never been a better time than lockdown to fix things around the house. The Repair Shopâs Jay Blades and other experts offer tips on how to do it yourself
The lockdown is a good opportunity to learn to repair some commonly broken items. Not only do many of us have more time on our hands than usual, but shops are closed so we canât easily replace items, and many expert restorers are shut, too. Prolonged proximity to your belongings, and a keener eye on your finances, may have given you a newfound appreciation for your stuff and the planetâs resources. These days you can find a wealth of fix-it tutorials online, but hereâs where to start.
Ayaz Hussain becomes sixth person charged with the murder of law student killed in drive-by shooting
A sixth person has been charged with the murder of a 19-year-old law student who was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Four men and a woman have already been charged with the murder of Aya Hachem, who was gunned down as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn on Sunday 17 May, and the attempted murder of Pashar Khan, who police believe was their intended target.
Tweet showed 12 male political leaders after Ghani promised women would be involved in high-level decision-making
People in Afghanistan protested on social media that no women were present at a high-level government meeting, despite assurances from the president that they would be involved in important decision-making roles.
The outcry followed a tweeted photo of a meeting of 12 political leaders at the presidential palace â all of them men.
In San Luis PotosĂ, cases of Covid-19 are rising, but not everyone is taking lockdown seriously. Photographer Mauricio Palos looks at how the outbreak has affected his home town
In San Luis PotosĂ, a city in central Mexico, some people believe the coronavirus is an invention by the government. They are sharing memes, videos and recordings with misinformation, in which people tell you that in the hospitals they drain the fluid from your knees and planes spray the city with the virus at night.
Millions of people in the Philippine capital, Manila, have spent more than two months under lockdown. The densely populated city, once notorious for its heaving traffic, has been transformed into a ghost town. Residents who do not perform essential work have been asked to stay at home and are barred from leaving their neighbourhoods. Rights groups have warned over the brutal manner in which the restrictions have been enforced. In one instance, curfew violators were put in dog cages, while others have been forced to sit in the midday sun as punishment. President Rodrigo Duterte has told police they can shoot anyone deemed to be causing trouble during the lockdown.
Last week, the government announced an extension of the lockdown until 31 May, making it one of the strictest and longest quarantines in the world.
Locals, NGOs and politicians express fears for worldâs most vulnerable as charity announces withdrawal from 18 countries due to financial impact of Covid-19
Oxfam Internationalâs announcement that it will close operations in countries including Afghanistan and Haiti has prompted fears that regions are being abandoned just as the coronavirus pandemic makes them more vulnerable.
Oxfam said the impact of Covid-19 on its finances had forced it to fast-track a global restructuring programme, which entails the closure of 18 country offices.
In 1981, a virus that had jumped the species barrier some decades earlier to infect humans began to wreak havoc among the gay community in San Francisco and New York. A taskforce was set up to study the cause of this disease, and it took a few years to identify HIV as the definitive cause of Aids and its genome to be sequenced, and nearly 15 years before a cocktail of drugs meant that having an HIV infection was no longer a certain death sentence.
Forty years later, the cause of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan was identified as a new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2, and its sequence determined in a matter of weeks. That, in turn, paved the way for a sensitive test for infection and, now, antibody tests for people who may have had the disease. That we know so much in such record time is due to sustained international investment in science.
Covid-19 is natureâs way of making bad situations worse. From the moment it turned the world upside down, you could have predicted that the Chinese Communist party would have arrested whistleblowers and covered up the threat to humanity. Itâs what it does best, after all.
You would not have needed mystical powers to divine that Viktor OrbĂĄn would have used a pandemic as an excuse to turn Hungary into the European Unionâs first dictatorship. Nor did it take a modern Nostradamus to foresee that, if you put men who care nothing for competence, complexity, or the difference between truth and falsehood in power, you will live to regret it. Or in the case of tens of thousands who trusted Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, die needless deaths.
The former president, the most popular politician in America with a huge social media following, can bolster the Democratic nominee with key groups and drive voter registration
Former president Barack Obama has dipped his toes into the 2020 presidential campaign recently and is positioned to do more in the coming months as Joe Bidenâs effort to defeat Donald Trump gathers steam.
Interviews with about a dozen Democratic strategists, officials and people close to Obama indicated members of the party want the popular former president to use his powerful online presence and focus on rallying key Democrat constituencies that are critical to a Biden victory.
The new opposition leader must win back centrist voters, just four months out from the election
It was never a foregone conclusion, but with three poll results in the last three weeks putting Nationalâs support at around 30%, the chances of Bridges remaining as leader were increasingly slim. By 1pm on 22 May, the parliamentary National party had sealed his, and deputy Paula Bennettâs, fate.
The new leader, Todd Muller, now faces the unenviable task of clawing back the centre right voters who appear, for now, to have deserted National in droves.
Jair Bolsonaro swore 34 times during a two-hour cabinet meeting some think could help bring his four-year term to a premature end. Brazilians are horrified by their president's lack of focus on Covid-19, which has killed more than 21,000 people
Hong Kong police used teargas, pepper spray and water cannon on crowds as thousands rallied against Beijingâs declaration that it intends to impose national security laws on the semi-autonomous region â a highly criticised move because of the 'one country, two systems' rule.
At least 120 people were arrested, according to police, in one of the biggest gatherings in the country since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic as the proposed law, banning subversion, separatism, and acts of foreign interference on Hong Kong, is to be approved next week at Chinaâs National Peopleâs Congress
Muhammad Zubair, one of two people who survived a plane crash in Pakistan, has described his escape from the burning aircraft after a second failed attempt to land in Karachi on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid. The Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 with 99 passengers and eight crew members onboard crashed into a crowded residential district on Friday afternoon
Kayleigh McEnany appeared to accidentally reveal Donald Trump's private bank details while displaying evidence of the president's $100,000 donation to efforts to rein in the coronavirus. McEnany announced Trump would donate his quarterly pay cheque, and when she held up the cheque for White House reporters, Trumpâs banking details were not obscured
Donald Trump has demanded that states reopen churches, synagogues and mosques for in-person services, threatening to 'override' governors who refuse. The president said he was identifying houses of worship as 'essential services' and suggested he was correcting the 'injustice' that liquor stores and abortion clinics had reopened in some states while places of worship had not
A rare white grizzly bear has been spotted in Canada's Rocky Mountains. According to experts, the colouring is the result of a recessive gene in the cub â not albinism. Local wildlife officials have known about the white grizzly since 2017, but Cara Clarksonâs mobile phone video of the bear, which went viral, marks the first time the public has caught a glimpse of the predator
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