Finding the right accountant for your small business in South Africa

Table of Contents

finding the right accountant

Going about finding the right accountant to outsource your accounting to is a similar process to hiring an employee.

You need to know their level of qualification and find out if they’re the right fit.

To know that, you need to assess your accounting needs and examine the services they offer, and how often you would expect an accounting review. Once this is taken care of, the rest is up to them.

Firstly, ask yourself: Do I need an accountant?

It’s pointless to go about looking for an outsourced accountant if you have no work for them.

In some cases, you might be in need, but your budget doesn’t allow room for outsourcing. If so, search with the intention to hire an accountant at a later stage.

Assess your accounting needs.

If you require both auditing and a review, you might need to hire a different accountant.

According to Taylor & Francis, most small enterprises in South Africa don’t engage in financial planning or lack certain books. It’s important to note that you may have the best business idea, but if your business has a financial hole, you could sink into debt.

What tools have you come across that may save you time in the department? Are you looking to upgrade to new software? An outsourced accounting firm most likely has expertise on board already. 

What financial model are you using, and what are the pitfalls? How do you share information between departments? Accounting firms have exposure to many models and can recommend ingenious improvements, no matter how minor. Reporting is a given when outsourcing your accounting services, but the question may be asked when interviewing: How often should it be done?

Do you have the right books and does the variety suffice for all financial needs? You can speak to your accountant on customizing their services to your needs. In these ways, it’s important to first check your existing processes before deciding to hire an outsourced accountant.

What services are offered, and at what price?

Comprehensive coverage of accounting services are a must when choosing your financial partner. It provides a guarantee that your dedicated chartered accountant will be qualified to handle all financial challenges that your business encounters.

Services that a good firm would offer may include the following:

  • Bookkeeping services
  • Taxation and auditing services
  • Independent reviews
  • Payroll services

On top of that, you should have a dedicated team and an individual chartered accountant that reports directly to you and offers advice. They should have an understanding of your business and financial goals which should be reviewed regularly while offering a financial analytics report.

Most companies have pricing brackets on certain service brackets, which many may tailor to suit the size of a business. Prices vary, and initially one would expect to go with the cheapest offer. But as anyone with a good head fixed on their shoulders should know: don’t judge a bookkeeper by the price on their web page. Schedule a meeting to properly understand how their services could benefit you and what you’re getting for the cost.

Are they the right accountant for you?

Are they qualified? Are they available? Should I have hired an employee instead? You may feel anxious about making the wrong decision. Be patient with the process, be clear on your financial needs, and all the worry will transform into clarity. 

Outsourced companies have a range of services, and their chartered accountants are more than capable of delivering on the results.

Over and above the services that the outsourced accounting firm offers, you could expect a bit more from your chartered accountant. Like for hiring an employee, you would need to do background checks. This can be made easier with the help of companies that specialise in these areas, or a reliable HR manager. 

Having your questions prepared before the interview and asking questions based on your needs will help you gauge their competence. Knowing that firms take the time to hire qualified accountants, be subtle when asking about their qualifications. 

Find out what solutions they would suggest to an accounting problem you may have encountered. This approach is beneficial to both parties as you can assess their advice from the get-go while they get insight into your expectations and business.

Be sure to find out about their availability and dedication to your business. If they don’t show an interest or ask questions, they will probably treat you as simply another client and may not be prepared to go the extra mile. 

All things considered, if this does not align with company values, consider your second option. A clear red flag that you’ve hired the wrong accountant is if you only hear from them when it’s tax season.


Once you’ve learnt what your needs are and have assessed the criteria of your ideal chartered accountant, you could proceed in selecting prospective accountants.

For revenue enhancement, select firms with diverse services. Before approaching, know what queries you may inevitably need to be advised on. Committed accounts with accessibility will provide value. Be sure to have this in your criteria when selecting a bookkeeper. 

Information about the authors, publication, and publisher

Picture of Author - Arnaud Brunel

Author - Arnaud Brunel

After a 15 year long career in International Banking and Compliance, Arnaud launched multiple businesses in Cape town. He still heads 2 of these businesses today in the Digital Marketing Industry with Brunel Studios and in the Financial Industry with Thryv.

Picture of Publication & Publisher - Thryv Accountants

Publication & Publisher - Thryv Accountants

Thryv accountants is a private accounting company that focuses on outsourcing of the financial functions of small and medium companies in Cape Town and other regions of South Africa.

The publications on this website are for information purposes only. They are based on our professional opinion.

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