Top questions to ask an accountant who you want to work for you

It’s important that you feel comfortable speaking with the accountant you finally choose. Ensure that the accountant understands your questions (not only language, but culture surrounding the fact that you don’t have a degree in Belgian tax accounting), and that the communication doesn’t seem hurried or difficult to follow. This is an important relationship that is worth the initial investment.

1. Will you take the time to sit down with us at the beginning of our relationship but also whenever we need it to ensure we understand the Belgian context of handling all accounts for the company and us personally and so that you fully understand the objectives and working methods of our company?

2. What is your expected turn-around when we call or email you with a question?

3. Will you tell us and give us advanced warning of at least 10 days when various information and reports are needed?

4. Will you explain in terms that a non-Belgian can understand what is the system of income tax pre-payment in Belgium and will you tell us when to send an estimated income tax payment?

5. When you do tell this to us, will you agree to do it by email with everything we need to know to do the bank transfer immediately, like the date (giving us at least a week’s notice), the bank account number, address of the receiver and the code numbers)?

6. When information or action is needed on an issue, will you give us at least one week’s notice and prioritise it by letting us know if it’s of “code one” importance so that we have time to react. Please do not expect us to drop everything and act at the last minute.

7. Will you handle all correspondence and communications with tax authorities and inform us of this?

8. When you complete the annual corporate income tax returns, will you check it with us in advance for clearance and then sit down with us to walk us through it in greater detail – in English?

9. Will you on a regular basis examine our systems and offer advice as to ways to maximize the use of the company for tax minimization, paperwork reduction, tax benefit maximization, and so on?

10. What is your particular area of expertise?

11. How big is the firm?

12. Does the firm have help available at lower billing rates?

13. What are your hourly or monthly or yearly rates?

14. If applicable: Will we need you to prepare monthly sales tax returns and send then to our office for signature and payment?

15. If applicable: Will you prepare monthly payroll tax returns and tell us when we have to make deposits?

16. If applicable: When you do monthly, quarterly, and annual payroll tax returns, will you need any input from us?