A question that often pops up in local forums is, "Does anyone know of a good local accountant?"
However, does it really matter whether your accountant lives nearby or not?
The Virtual World
With the adoption of cloud accounting, on-line communities, web-calls and the like, it could be argued that there is no longer a need to meet the people we do business with in person. However, maybe there are advantages to not meeting:
Webcalls vs Actual Meetings
When meeting someone in person, there is always the time spent to get there as well as the risk of delays. This ultimately leads to a 30min meeting potentially writing off the whole morning.
There seems to be an unspoken rule that the length of the meeting should justify the time spent getting there. If it turns out the issue can be resolved in the first 5 minutes, there is the tendency to string out the meeting to last the whole time allotted.
The time-cost in meeting people in person can be considerable, let alone the parking and cafe bill. This is not the case when meeting on-line. Press a few buttons wherever you may be and there you are.
Narrowing the Choices
There are lots of accountants out there and it can be hard to know where to start. Location is a great way to limit the choices.
However, there might be other criteria to use as well. Don't rule out asking round locally, but what about asking any on-line communities you might be a member of?
Do you want to meet your accountant?
There are some topics that are supposed to be taboo, one of which is money. Your accountant will have an intimate grasp of your finances, how well your business is doing etc.
For some people this might be a reason that they'd like to actually see who they are entrusting with this information. Others might not wish to bump into them in the local supermarket.
A personal choice, but maybe something to consider?
Technology is a great enabler and means that we are no longer bound by physical location. That said, it doesn't mean you have to do everything on-line either. There are other aspects that might be important to you such as supporting local businesses and strengthening local networks.
As for my advice? The real goal should be to find an accountant that is a good fit for you and your business. If you manage to find one that lives locally - then go for it!