Nowadays, when data entry can be increasingly automated, the accountant’s choice of how well he or she can interpret numbers, is becoming more and more decisive. While starting a business, first-hand personal advice and assurance that the accounting will be in order, is required. As your business grows you will gradually add management reporting and forecasting, which in turn may require you to step away from your long-term accounting partner and find a new and better option.
This is a situation where the desires and needs of corporate finance grow over time and it is quite natural. Therefore, it is optimal to start working with a small partner and move on to a larger office some time later, although it is not always so linear.
Selection of an accounting service provider
Number of accounting service providers in Estonia is relatively high and as accounting is increasingly outsourced rather than hired, the number of service agencies and the range of services offered is likely to increase further in the coming years.
1. A familiar accountant who provides accounting services in addition to his/her main job
Very often, accountants provide a separate accounting service in addition to their main job. If you are familiar with this, this is the most convenient solution, especially if you are still a beginner and relatively small and just need a cheap and reliable partner. The disadvantage is that such an accountant may not be familiar with all areas of activity; his or her competence is quite central to one area. Generally, you grow out of this service and will have to consider other options.
2. Small office / single service provider
It is common for an accounting firm to have 1-2 employees. It can even be said that most of the Estonian accounting service providers belong here. The benefit of having a small office and a single service provider is that most of the time, the relationship is very personal and you can confidently ask arising questions and mostly they will not be billed.
Cost of such offices is also often relatively low. The main problem is the lack of substitution. If one person becomes ill or one day stops answering the phone, it can cause serious problems, especially if you have handed over your documents on paper. However, many companies are satisfied customers of such offices and remain with this format for a long time.
3. Large office
Large offices have a wide variety of levels and services. There are those who do line work and are relatively anonymous, but also those who essentially think about your business.
A big office usually means stable service and processes in place. A large office has a large number of accountants, which means that their expertise is broader, allowing them to offer a wider range of services to clients with a wide range of activities.
Most of the services of large firms include both accounting and financial management services. Replacement is also guaranteed. However, it is undoubtedly more anonymous. You have to bear in mind that you do not have a personal relationship with an accountant as is the case with a smaller partner, because accountants can change, move within the organization, etc. You also need to be very careful about the contract. Larger offices generally charge extra for each additional job.
However, with the help of a large office, you can have a long growth. A place to think about hiring your own employee occurs when there is a turnover of about 10 million. In the meantime, you can easily handle the big office.
Three pricing models are common in Estonia:
- pay-as-you-go accounting –the most common, but keep in mind that any additional activity will incur additional charges
- monthly fee accounting service – a fixed amount or formula, such as % of costs, in addition, there is often a separate charge for payroll and supplementary services
- hourly accounting service –definitely suitable for one off work or for activities which volume is difficult to estimate. Such an approach would not be advisable for a monthly accounting service; it does not motivate the accounting firm to optimize its operations.
Very small businesses, which do not need monthly accounting and compile their documents once or twice a year, can handle as much as € 100-200 a year.
Monthly service usually starts at € 50 a month and the price increases with the size of the company. For example, Robby & Bobby is already focused on slightly larger companies and our prices start at € 95 (including VAT) per month.
When comparing the price lists be sure to review what is included in the basic price. At first sight, the cheaper solution could even be more expensive with reports and additional amounts charged for budgets.
Cooperation with the accountant
In order to ensure trouble-free collaboration with the accountant, you should preferably maintain program administration rights and always sign an agreement with the accountant. Accounting service contract must specify:
- details of the purchased service
- pricing logic and bases for changing prices (including notice period)
- supplementary services and their price list
- frequency of accounting (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly)
- preferred communication channels (email, phone, messenger).