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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 20, 2009
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Things to Look at When Choosing a Firm to Keep Your Books
May 20, 2009   
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When you want an outside accounting firm to keep your books, you might think price is the main factor in making the choice, especially during an economic downturn. It turns out, however, there are many other vital factors you need to consider when deciding who to work with.

Entrepreneurs planning to outsource their accounting work to an outside firm should pay special attention to the range of services the firm provides and the competence of its employees.

Comprehensive services can only be provided and guaranteed by firms that rely on experts in their respective fields, such as tax consultants, auditors, accountants, and legal advisers. It is also important to know how long a given firm has been around, because this obviously speaks for its experience. It is worth hearing opinions from former staff members and other businesses using the firm's services. You can ask the firm for data to contact several of its strategic customers, as they can give you some valuable information. You should be cautious about opinions available online, because anonymous information you cannot verify is frequently far from the truth. Searching for the best accounting firm, ask about third-party insurance against damage caused by faulty services. Although you have no guarantee of obtaining this kind of information, ask about the amount of compensation the firm may have been forced to pay to its customers.

It is a good policy to look for firms that want to stay competitive at a time of crisis. Such companies are often seeking to cut their operating costs, introducing savings programs or deciding to merge in order to share IT systems. By choosing frugal firms that double-check their expenses, entrepreneurs can look forward to being spared unpleasant surprises such as frequent price raises resulting from rising costs.

Another important step as you choose the right accounting firm is to check if it has a certificate or other documents authorizing it to keep books and whether it is in the national business register or the National Court Register and whether it pays taxes. Yet another important piece of information-one that is often ignored-is how the firm handles documents and helps its customers arrange administrative formalities. The firm's location plays a key role as well, because quick and easy contact is essential.

In order to spare yourself the disappointment of dealing with poor quality service and extra costs tied to breaching a contract, you need to think twice before you decide what it is that you really expect from an outside accounting firm. Remember that price and service quality are inseparable and that entrepreneurs sometimes get to pay dearly for misconceived "economizing."

Wojciech Kossut, Chairman of Towston Accounting Services Sp. z o.o.

www.towston.com
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