Last updated: 13th August 2019
So you’re at the stage of your property investment journey where you need to find an accountant.
It might sound like an easy task, but if you’re new to the property investment industry and have a lot on your plate, it can be a nightmare knowing the best property accountant to pick.
That’s why we’re here to help make sure you know what to look out for – and what to avoid.
It’s impossible for a property accountant to give good tax advice without knowing what you plan to do in the future, and what you want to get out of your property journey.
If you’re not being asked questions about your goals and future, it’s likely your accountant is following a generic template that’s not fully adjusted to your individual circumstances.
…without really looking at you or your needs?
If they’re saying things like ‘buying investment property in a limited company is definitely the right thing to do’, without fully evaluating your situation first – then move on!
Most accountants will have property experience – as it’s almost guaranteed they’ll have a few clients who dabble in property, but “dabbling” doesn’t mean they’re an expert, or even confirm that they know much about property at all.
The last thing you want is a property accountant who has clients with one or two properties on the side, it’s simply not enough.
You should be looking for a property accountant who deals regularly with clients who have large property portfolios, and are used to dealing with property specific transactions to help you get the most out of your investments.
You need to be confident that they have a deep – and current! – knowledge of property tax.
You want, and deserve, a pro-active advisor. Not just someone who processes data. You need to make sure they’re a problem solver, and know how to be creative. Do they have a problem or a solution mindset?
If they simply see obstacles as problems – move on.
But if you find a true solution-type person, you’re on to a winner.
Not just on the world of tax – that’s kind of their job! You’d expect for them to be completely up to date on the complex tax changes, particularly in the property sector which can be more tricky (and difficult to keep up with) at times.
But you also need to check that they can move with the times. Tech is part of our world now – and it’s certainly not going anywhere.
Can they help you manage things on the go? Are they aware of tools that can make your life easier? Can they suggest nifty little apps to help you manage your receipts and make sure you’re not clinging onto clumps of paper expenses?
Any accountant, not just property specific accountants, should be up to date on all these aspects.
A good property account will save you many multiples of what they charge you over time. If someone doing a great job is charging you twice the rate of someone doing an average job, you’ll benefit majorly over time. Don’t think about the short-term – your long-term property journey is what’s important here.
Are they transparent on fees too? Make sure you get a full and detailed breakdown of what’s included and what’s extra. You don’t want to be hit with hidden fees, and your property accountant should be able to make sure every charge is detailed and more importantly for you, fully justified.
Do you get on with them? You’re going to work with your property accountant for a pretty long time, so it’s important that you click, and feel comfortable around them.
Sit down, have a chat and see if you’re a match.
If you’d like to find out more about choosing the right accountant for you, you can watch our YouTube video on finding the right property accountant or take a look at Property Hub Tax, a whole consultancy dedicated to property investors.