If there is one thing that people struggle with when they’re on the search for a new accountant, it’s assessing whether the company is right for them before they commit. The reality is that not all professional enterprises are created equal, and that every individual will have slightly different needs that need catering to.

So, how do you sort the wheat from the chaff before you hand over any cash? It’s actually perfectly possible to do, so long as you bear these three top tips in mind…

1: Outline your requirements

A lot of the difficulty in finding the right company to handle your accounts comes from not knowing what you want until you realise that the business you’re using is falling short. The best way to avoid this is by being discerning from the start, so make a shortlist of the criteria that are important to you. This list can be as generic or as specific as you like, as long as all of the requirements that matter to you are included. From location to experience to specialisms, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for when you start doing your research and seeing what’s out there.

2: Research them online

Once you know what you want, do your research. Most companies will have lots of information on their website – information you can use to see how well they tick your boxes. If there’s anything really important that will influence your choices, such as location, then include this alongside your search query, by looking for ‘accountants in Shoreditch’, for example. You might want also want to see if you can find any feedback pertaining to the company’s performance online so that you know who to avoid as well as who to consider further.

3: Speak to them in person

Once you have a shortlist of potential candidates, don’t feel embarrassed to contact them in person and have a chat with someone. This will allow you to voice any questions or queries you might have, such as how much prior experience they possess with regards to companies in your sector. Ask anything that you need to know in order to make an informed decision, and make certain that the person you’re speaking to is happy to spend time providing you with all of the information you need. This early conversation will give you a good indication as to the level of customer service you can expect, and show you exactly who you will feel most comfortable working with.

Follow these three simple steps and you’re sure to find your perfect professional match.