What To Look For When Hiring An Accounting Broker To Sell Your Accountant Practice

Why is accountability so important in the workplace?

A workplace in which employees are engaged without being accountable is unsustainable. Accountability is critical to any human operation in which work must get done efficiently, effectively, and within budget. More importantly, it also has a major impact on top performers and overall employee engagement.

Consider a workplace environment where some employees are highly engaged (“A” players), while others are unaccountable for meeting deadlines and consistently perform at a substandard level. This is a workplace designed to frustrate those committed to exemplary workplace behaviors. A and B players need to work with equally committed co-workers. When high performers work alongside disengaged employees, their incentive to work at full capacity diminishes.

Over time, when leaders fail to address the disparity in accountability, the result is a contagion of frustration, under-performance, and malaise that drags down the entire enterprise. In this environment, companies also see a drop in productivity, product and service quality, worker retention, and employee wellness.

In other words, leaders will always come up short on producing a highly engaged workforce if they don’t first achieve a culture of accountability.

Some of the most common obstacles to accountability for individuals are learned helplessness (“I’m not smart enough to get this right.”), a victim mentality (“This never would have happened if the team hadn’t abandoned me on this project.”), and grudge collecting (“This is just another example of senior leaders showing they don’t care about us.”).

In these cases, managers must develop non-punitive strategies to challenge the problematic behavior, such as offering guidance for more positive and effective performance, redirecting employees toward problem-solving, and listening and affirming employee concerns immediately followed by the mutual development of an action plan going forward.

Organizational barriers to accountability

Lack of accountability can manifest itself with individuals, but it can also be fostered by an organization that tolerates the conditions that lead to it. Institutional habits, left uncorrected, can encourage a lack of accountability by undermining clarity about who is responsible for what. An organization (and its leaders) with unclear priorities, a silo mentality, or habitual conflict avoidance inevitably corrodes accountability.

To prevent the deterioration of accountability in their organizations, senior leaders can focus on more inclusive decision making, agreeing on outcomes and priorities as a group, and ensuring clear and open communication organization-wide. This helps clarify the organization’s goals and responsibilities for achieving them. For example, employees typically perform better when they understand why what they are doing specifically contributes to organizational success. In short, managers and senior leaders bear responsibility for establishing the conditions that encourage employees to be accountable.

Creating a culture of accountability

How do they do that? First, leaders must hold themselves to high standards in developing relationships that promote trust with employees, and help others do the same. By demonstrating integrity, follow-through, competence, and openness to feedback, they help create a culture of accountability.

Recent discoveries in neuroscience describe a human brain that yearns for emotional safety and security. People perform best when they feel safe, both physically and emotionally. Inconsistent accountability in a workplace erodes the trust that people feel in the leadership, flooding the brain with feelings of insecurity. This is not conducive to engagement or high performance, or ultimately to improved business outcomes.


There are various ways that you can take to encourage and foster accountability at your workplace.


It is important that accountability is made a part of your organization’s culture and everyday operations. Talk about it in meetings, implement corporate training, encourage employees to share their ideas and what it means to them. Corporate Training It should not just remain as a definition. Your aim should be to blend accountability in the organization’s basic thread. It should become an overall goal and should have consequences when it is not met.

The morale of all the employees goes down when a few non-performing employees don’t face action and repercussions.


One of the easiest ways in which accountability can rise exponentially in your company is to have clear goals for each department and each member of the team. Tangible goals with set deadlines and process work best. Have clear outline about what is expected from the employees. Also make sure that you set personalized goals. These are an important part of teamwork as they highlight how important an individual is as a team member.

It is the responsibility of the entire team to be accountable and answerable. If one team member slacks, the other’s work will automatically be affected in a negative way. Also it is essential that while setting goals you emphasize on what’s not important and what’s not a priority. Employees handling too many roles and with many responsibilities may reduce the overall productivity and accountability. Therefore, always make sure that the goals set are achievable and realistic.


Show your employees the metrics of their performance. This way you can enhance the overall accountability in the workplace. Highlighting these metrics means that each employee will have to engage with the outcome of their work. Sharing the outcome of each goal is an effective way to validate commitment and dedication in employees. This way you are communicating clearly what is expected from them.

Also another advantage of highlighting metrics is that it encourages healthy competition. When an employee accomplishes a goal and gets appreciation and recognition for it, it is a boost to their morale and motivation. And acknowledging that they didn’t reach their goal this time will inspire them to work a lot harder the next time.


Including everyone in accountability goes hand-in-hand with setting individual goals. Many times employees assume that accomplishing team goals is the responsibility of only the team leader or manager. But this is not true. It is important that each employee knows about their individual contribution to the project and that they are an integral part of the team. This way the employee will feel values and worthy. Also make sure you encourage employees to speak up if they notice some other employee is slacking in their goals.


In many workplaces employees focus on finding who is at fault when a problem arises. This is particularly seen in workplaces where trust amongst employees is low. In low trust environment, employees dread accountability because they worry about the consequences of their mistakes. On the other hand, in high trust environment employees go the extra distance, stay accountable and responsible, and are confident that they can rectify their mistakes. A high trust environment can be created and will flourish when managers praise their employees and build their teams’ confidence.

Listen and Affirm Employee Concerns

Leaders sometimes tend to share the opinion that their perspective is the only one that counts which can lead them to the wrong path. Listen to and affirm the concerns of your team members and stand accountable for previously taken actions. The same applies to concerns about other employees’ work. Any misdirection should be followed by the mutual collaboration and development of an action plan going forward.

This will help your team members to understand the importance of accountability but at the same time, it will provide them with a realization that noticing the previously made mistakes and standing responsible for them will lead to a mutual solution. That is how you’ll achieve a more engagement in the work environment.

Communicate Constantly with Your Employees about Their Performance

Some of the most common obstacles to accountability for individuals are learned helplessness. Phrases such as “I’m not smart enough to get this right”, “This never would have happened if the team hadn’t abandoned me”, “This is just another example of senior leaders showing they don’t care about us” can become a regular excuse of employees who avoid being accountable. Deal with this obstacle by constantly discussing their performance and providing them with solutions on how to improve it. Don’t leave them space to find justification, create an environment where you only want to hear about suggestions and solutions.

Make employee’s accountable for their behavior by communicating on how to improve their current actions. It is of high importance that every feedback you give includes a praise as well, thus giving them the motivation to keep the current work-flow. Showing your team members that you pay attention to every individual’s work and that you care about their progress will evoke the feeling of accountability and increase the engagement.

Strategies for embedding a culture of accountability in the workplace

Lead by example – Senior Leaders need to demonstrate accountability each and every day – not just when things go well. If staff see the senior team playing a blame game or ‘duck the blame’ game, then they will too.

Set clear boundaries – It’s much easier to hold people to account if the boundaries are clear so that employees understand what is expected of them and are aware of what are acceptable standards and behaviours. Make sure they know what they are doing and what is required of them in accordance with their job description.

Develop managers skills – It is the way the manager handles making someone accountable and the way that is delivered that is the key. The focus should be on positive behaviours and not ‘telling off’, with the objective of improving accountability and performance. Make sure your managers have the capabilities to make people accountable in a positive manner by considering accountability training or 1-1 coaching sessions with managers.

Deal with those who reject personal accountability – Explain what personal accountability is about – don’t assume they know. Explore their views/fears on taking responsibility and find out what is stopping them from being personally accountable. Ask them for their ideas to help turn this around and identify what support you can give them. Document what they commit to doing and agree a timescale for them to change their behaviour. If things don’t improve then you can look to take steps towards formal action.


Let’s split up challenge into two parts. First, there is the importance of collapsing time. A vital quality that great leaders demonstrate is that they will challenge employees to not only be productive today but also set achievable goals—and then help them reach those goals—for the coming years. One way to do that is to emphasize the importance of collapsing time.

Take, for example, Thomas Keller, chef and founder of two Michelin three-star restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se. He says that early in his career, where he started as a dishwasher, he did as much as he could to finish the dishes efficiently so he could spend more time watching the chef de cuisine’s techniques. Put another way, Keller was collapsing time and then spending it on efforts that would help his later career.

The parallel to business shouldn’t go unnoticed. By helping employees focus on collapsing time (getting the work done that they need to do today but knowing what they want to achieve tomorrow), managers can help them prioritize the importance of developing future ideas—something critical because businesses are in a constant state of change and need to continuously innovate.

The other aspect of how leaders can challenge employees comes from a concept called achievable challenge, which is the idea that a manager stretches but doesn’t overwhelm employees. Think about it from the perspective of a video game. All players start at level 1. Those who demonstrate more dexterity move quickly to the next level and the one after that, with each getting successively harder until players reach their ultimate level. Video games are addictive because they challenge players with something new at each level that is just a little harder than the last but still within reach. Similarly, in organizations, it’s important for leaders to set challenges appropriately—ones that stretch employees but don’t encourage them to give up because it’s too far beyond their own capabilities.

The Pros And Cons Of Doing Your Own Accountant

Financial accounting

Financial accounting (or financial accountancy) is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes.

Financial accountancy is governed by both local and international accounting standards. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is the standard framework of guidelines for financial accounting used in any given jurisdiction. It includes the standards, conventions and rules that accountants follow in recording and summarizing and in the preparation of financial statements.

On the other hand, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a set of passionable accounting standards stating how particular types of transactions and other events should be reported in financial statements. IFRS are issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). With IFRS becoming more widespread on the international scene, consistency in financial reporting has become more prevalent between global organizations.

While financial accounting is used to prepare accounting information for people outside the organization or not involved in the day-to-day running of the company, managerial accounting provides accounting information to help managers make decisions to manage the business.

Financial accounting and financial reporting are often used as synonyms.

1. According to International Financial Reporting Standards: the objective of financial reporting is:

To provide financial information that is useful to existing and potential investors, lenders and other creditors in making decisions about providing resources to the reporting entity.

2. According to the European Accounting Association:

Capital maintenance is a competing objective of financial reporting

The Importance of Ethics in Accounting: Reasons to Keep in Mind

Even though you aren’t a professional accountant, you’re still responsible for keeping your business’s books in order. And if you’re the one handling your small business books, you need to follow ethics in accounting.

Why is ethics important in accounting?

Accountants are expected to act ethically when they handle clients’ books. They must:

Demonstrate integrity

Keep things confidential

Stay up-to-date with the latest accounting news

Act professionally

Ethics are important in many aspects of business, especially when it comes to your company’s accounting books. Even though you might not be an accountant, you’re expected to exhibit the same qualities as them when you handle your books.

You’re dealing with sensitive information

As a business owner, you deal with sensitive information on the daily. When it comes to your business books, you need to handle your business bank account information, transaction totals, and other financial data.

Your mistakes are on you

Think about this: if you’re caught being unethical in accounting, who will be to blame? That’s right … you. When you make accounting mistakes or act unethically because you’re not competent in accounting, it’s on you.

Reasons to become a Chartered Accountant

Why become a Chartered Accountant?

The Chartered Accountancy qualification opens the door to a vast range of exciting career opportunities, in every sector of business and finance, both in Ireland and internationally. Chartered Accountants are in constant demand both at home and abroad, being recognised for their technical competence, professional standards, and veracity.

Becoming a Chartered Accountant combines innovative education with mentored work experience, to produce accountants who possess a greater ability to analyse and interpret business problems and develop dynamic solutions. Perhaps that’s why Chartered Accountants have the edge over their counterparts: they rise further and faster into more diverse and important roles in organisations.

The Chartered difference

We’re often asked what the difference between studying Chartered Accountancy and other accounting qualifications is. The answer is that no other professional accounting qualification provides students with the same support, structure, guidance and quality of education throughout the training process.

Exam Success

Where other professional accountancy bodies outsource their education, Chartered Accountancy trainees benefit from classes run directly by us. Students have greater levels of contact both with the Institute and their lecturers, both of whom work closely together to ensure the highest standards of delivery.

The education programme

There are a variety of education courses on offer, with lectures held in venues around the country and online. Chartered Accountancy courses have the finest accounting lecturers in Ireland, all of whom are committed to providing the best possible education to our students.

Differences between a Chartered Accountant and an Accountant?

Chartered Accountants discussed by Hayvenhursts Chartered Accountants

A Chartered Accountant gives you advice and trustworthy information about your businesses financial records and status. They can be involved in financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency. They will support you with accounting systems and processes and will work alongside you and your business to drive your business forward, bringing skills of strategic forecasting along with expertise in finance, accountancy, auditing and taxation which is essential to each and every business in today’s climate.

CA stands for Chartered Accountant and it is one of the most coveted professional degrees in the world. To qualify as a Chartered Accountant, you qualify with a specialised bachelor’s degree in accounting, followed by a Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) which is offered as a postgraduate honours degree, or as a postgraduate diploma dependent on the university attended.

What is the difference between a Chartered Accountant and an Accountant?

A Chartered Accountant has to complete post-graduate honours or diploma degree and following this have had 3-year’s work experience alongside a Chartered Accountant expert who will mentor them through their 3-year work experience. Chartered are experts in the field of accounting, finance and business compared to an accountant which is more of a transactional financial role.

What does a Chartered Accountant do?

A Chartered Accountant focuses on providing accurate records of all financial transactions for an individual or business and they tend to work with commercial businesses such as larger non-profit organisations, corporations and e-commerce or industrial sectors.

Chartered Accountants will:

Work as key senior managers or alongside senior managers and decision-makers within a business, steering it in the right strategic direction, solving problems and implementing change

Report on the financial performance of a company to impact and direct key business decisions and strategies

Be trusted advisors, supporting as a consultant or as a practising partner

Work in a wide range of business sectors and in a broad spectrum of roles, from financial controllers and directors to chief executives

Advise on a range of day-to-day financial aspects and reporting, preparing corporate and personal tax statements and formulate tax strategies including financial choice, how to plan and manage a merger or acquisition, deferral of taxes, when to expense items and so on

Plan and manage business audits which include; checking accounting ledgers and financial statements within businesses including processes, manual, automatic and random real-time auditing

Budget planning, negotiation and analysis, managing an organisation’s current and future financial plans, working alongside marketing, operations, new business, service and HR. They will manage and or participate in decisions about budgeting alongside a businesses’ financial analysis

Conduct risk analysis for companies to make investment decisions in the future.

The Ultimate Guide to Accounting Basics

In college, I started a local consignment business. It was very different from my freelance writing business for a few key reasons: I had employees, I had physical products (which meant a physical store and check-out process), and I had a different legal business entity.

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Regardless of your business size and budget, accounting is an incredibly useful practice to master. We wrote this guide to ease you into the subject, and by the end, you’ll feel equipped to tackle your own business’s accounting (or find someone who can help).

What is business accounting?

Accounting is the process of systematically recording, analyzing, and interpreting your business’s financial information. Business owners use accounting to track their financial operations, meet legal obligations, and make stronger business decisions.

Business Accounting Basics

Regardless of who manages your business accounting, it’s wise to understand accounting basics. If you can read and prepare these basic documents, you’ll understand your business’s performance and financial health — as a result, you’ll have greater control of your company and financial decisions.

Here are the documents and calculations we recommend mastering, even if you work with a professional, consulting agency, or have hired a certified public accountant (CPA). They provide valuable snapshots and measures of your business performance.

An income statement, which shows your company’s profitability and tells you how much money your business has made or lost.

A balance sheet, which is a snapshot of your business’ financial standing at a single point in time. A balance sheet will also show you your business’s retained earnings, which is the amount of profit that you’ve reinvested in your business (rather than being distributed to shareholders).

A profit and loss (P&L) statement, which is a snapshot of your business’s income and expenses during a given time period (e.g. quarterly, monthly, or yearly). This calculation will also be reflected on your business’s Schedule C tax document.

A cash flow statement, which analyzes your business’s operating, financing, and investing activities to show how and where you’re receiving and spending money.

A bank reconciliation compares your cash expenditures with your overall bank statements and helps keep your business records consistent. (This is the process of reconciling your book balance to your bank balance of cash.)

The Essence Of Accountant

Questions to Ask When You Choose a Tax Accountant

If you are considering early exercising of a significant number of options or are thinking about selling options in the public market for the first time we highly recommend retaining a reputable tax accountant. We realize this means you will incur a fee, but it is highly justified given the risk you take on incurring significant unforeseen taxes if you don’t consult a great tax accountant.  It is not as easy to quantify the savings from hiring a tax accountant as it is from hiring an estate planner (see our recent post by Abe Zuckerman regarding Estate Planners), but it’s just as necessary. Like most people, you’re probably not sure how to choose a tax accountant.

Do they have expertise in areas relevant to you?

If you work for a technology company that issues stock options or RSUs, then make sure your accountant has worked with plenty of other clients in the same situation.  Better yet, make sure she has clients who work in more senior positions than you because with seniority usually comes more complexity. A true professional will tell you if she is not appropriate for the job, either because your return is too simple to warrant her help or too complex due to her lack of relevant experience (a common example where a lot of experience is needed would be the area of oil and gas partnerships).

How many years of individual tax experience do they have?

An appropriate tax advisor should have a minimum of five years experience doing individual tax returns. Experience with a large firm is usually better than a small firm because she will have been exposed to a broader set of issues and her training should be better.

What license(s) do they have?

It would be preferable for your tax preparer to have a CPA (Certified Public Accountant license) although it is not technically required. Tax Attorneys should have a LL.M in Tax (an advanced tax degree for an attorney).

Do they have an advanced degree?

A CPA can do tax work even if she hasn’t had any special training in tax. I know that sounds crazy. That’s why it might make sense to look for someone with more advanced training like a tax specialty within an MBA. My tax advisor, Bob Guenley (who has written a number of guest posts for us), told me he only took one tax course in college and learned a lot on the job, but getting his MBA in tax made a whole world of difference. His MBA included individual, partnership, corporate and fiduciary tax, which is more than one needs if she wants to specialize in individual tax, but it’s awfully nice to have someone advise you who has that broad perspective. An advanced degree isn’t necessary if your accountant has taken advanced classes in personal tax as part of her ongoing Continuing Professional Education requirement. There is no correct answer to this question. I just think your tax advisor/preparer needs to have taken several courses emphasizing personal taxes.

Choosing an accountant

When choosing an accountant, look for one that will suit you or your business. Some accountants specialise in tax returns for individuals or for businesses in a particular industry, and others are experts in a particular area of tax.

If you’re an employee

An accountant can be useful if you have multiple jobs or income from investments. They can also help you claim all the tax deductions you’re entitled to and make sure your tax return is correct.

If you work for yourself

If you work for yourself as a sole trader, contractor or freelancer, an accountant can help. They can help with your BAS (business activity statements) and PAYG (Pay as you go) instalments. They can also tell you what deductions you can claim, and give advice on super contributions and tax.

Help with your business

If you run your own business, an accountant can help you set up and maintain your financial records. They can also help you meet your tax obligations.

Finding the right accountant

A good place to start looking for an accountant is recommendations from people you know.

Q&A: Choosing an accountant

How important is it to find the right accountant?

Really important, if you take the time to find a good accountant, it could save your business a lot of time, effort and money.

And if I don’t find the right accountant?

Some accountants are only interested in the fee, others can be too busy to give you the service you need, which means your business suffers, which can include paying more tax than you need to. No matter how new or established your business – or how small it is – if you’re paying an accountant, you should receive a first-class service, otherwise, what’s the point?

How important are the personalities?

Much can rest on the characters involved. There needs to be a professional, yet friendly and open relationship between the parties. A few years ago, the accounting firm of which I’m a partner picked up a new client, who immediately referred us to her friend. The relationship with the first client soon broke down – we always seemed to be on a different page. The lady she referred is still a happy client.

What can an accountant help me with?

PAYE, VAT, personal tax, business tax, year-end accounts, returns – tasks that many business owners find difficult or just plain boring. Not everyone’s good with figures, while trying to do it yourself could in fact prove much costlier than paying an accountant to do it for you. From a tax perspective, the business is also properly administered, which gives piece of mind and frees up the owner to do other things. To use a medical analogy, what you should be looking for is a good ‘GP’, with links to a ‘specialist’ if you need one.

Do you recommend monthly fee arrangements?

Only if you’re paying your accountant for monthly services. Better to pay as you go, then you can see what work your accountant has done. You can reduce your accountancy fees by doing your own simple bookkeeping and keeping an orderly record of your expenses, of course.

How to select the right accountant

Finding a good accountant is difficult, especially one who understands your business’s unique needs.  Here is how to select the right accountant for your business

Full time, In-house or outsource

As a small/medium business owner, cost is the key consideration.  You may not need a full time accountant.  There are many accounting firms out there that provide accounting services and this could be just the right solution for you.  However, you need to choose the accounting firm that you can trust with your financial information and someone whom you could work with in the long run

Relevant experience, certified or chartered accountant

Ensure that your accountant is certified by a professional body, i.e. CPA (Certified Public Accountants) or CA (Chartered Accountants).  It is preferable that the account should also has the relevant experience working in a similar business to yours or at least has experience in in the same sector as yours.  This is to help ensure that your accountants understand your business unique need sand, can set up your company right from the start and able to serve well as the company grows over time.

Be clear on his/her role and responsibilities

As mentioned above, the Accountant has a wide range of responsibilities.  Ensure your accountant has the necessary skill and experience to help you with current and future needs.  Any simple accounting task that can be done in house will reduce accountant costs and will also give the business a better grasp of the company’s financial situation in real time and a heads-up on potential issues.   These include book keeping, payments and collection.

Accounting software, offline or online?

If you decide to engage a third party accountant, your accountant’s software may play part of your selection process.

tips on choosing an accountant for your start-up or small business

Most small business owners say that their accountant is their most valuable advisor – a good accountant will keep your books in order, help with tax planning, and will ensure that you meet all your tax deadlines

Consider choosing an accountant before you start your business, or as soon as you can, as they will be able to advise you on start-up expenditure, how to register with the tax authorities,

Ensure that all prospective accountants are fully qualified. Most firms are members of a recognised accountancy body such as the ICAEW (Chartered Accountants), ACCA (Certified Accountants), or ICAS

Make sure your accountant has experience of dealing with other small businesses, particularly other businesses within your industry. If you are a contractor or freelancer, for example, you will typically be better off taking to a specialist accountant rather than a ‘general’ firm

Find out what fees your accountant will charge. Are they annual fees, or monthly? Are there any entry or exit fees? How much will extra work be charged at – if it falls outside the agreed tasks to be performed for your business?