What Makes A Good Accountant?

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When considering the characteristics of a good accountant, adjectives such as rational and logical often crop up but it takes a lot more than patience and numerical skills to make an exceptional number cruncher.


It goes without saying that your accountant first and foremost must be qualified and, regulated and accepted to practice by a recognised accountancy body.

Look for the letters ACA and ACCA after your accountant’s name and check their Institute of Chartered Accountants memberships: ICAEW in England and Wales or ICAS in Scotland.


Accountants must be able to understand clients’ requirements and aspirations as these will be crucial when deciding what type of accounting practices or economic methods might need to be applied. Providing bespoke financial advice is an invaluable skill set.

Look for an accountant who understands your sector or one who demonstrates good business acumen through their own firm’s development, or successes with their clients.


Accountants must be responsive when a client needs assistance, they also must be able to relay complicated accounting and tax concepts in a way that is palatable for non-accountants.

An accountant’s ability to navigate complex verbiage will form the basis of an encouraging and enthusiastic working relationship, a necessity between a business and its accountant.

Industry Knowledge 

By understanding industries specifically, an accountant can guide a client through the benefits and pitfalls of the sector they’re in.

They will also be aware of HMRC lead schemes which particularly benefit different industries and be able to apply these accordingly to ensure a business is operating in a tax efficient manner based on its own sector and structure.

Eye for Detail

An eye for detail is vital as good accounting practice requires a high level of accuracy. A great accountant possesses diligence which ensures that the figures being used are in order.

Clients cannot afford an accountant that is prone to making mistakes as it costs both their time and their money.


An efficient tax bill is not computed using only expenses provided by the client. A good accountant will be resourceful in using all possible options and making the client aware of everything which is tax deductible in relation to their business.

They will also be knowledgeable on applicable tax schemes for your business, the more they know the more they are able to apply to your business to keep that tax bill down.


Client requirements, the economy and generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) are constantly evolving and can all change at a moment’s notice, therefore a great accountant must be highly adaptable with the ability to take unforeseen difficulties in their stride.

As we move into the Making Tax Digital era, look for an accountant who is forward thinking and already embracing change.


In a world where important dates and deadlines are increasingly important, organisation is a key trait that prevents clients from incurring late fees. Furthermore, managing portfolios, transactions and other important records and documents also requires a highly ordered individual.

If your accountant’s office is chaotic this will be telling. Look for an accountant championing paperless accounting systems and cloud based bookkeeping software.


A good accountant must be there for their clients when they need them. They must operate in a transparent yet discreet fashion and adhere to the highest standard of ethics set by their industry regulator.

If you can’t get through to your accountant by phone, they don’t respond to emails or they regularly miss deadlines, you might like to shop around.

Cottons Chartered Accountants

Cottons know what it takes to make a great accountant which is why our partners and senior accountants have all been trained to the highest standard and exposed to the industry for the correct amount of time before reaching their current positions.

If you are looking for a reliable accountant with experience of your industry and local economic area then talk to us. We have accountants in LondonRugbyNorthampton, and Daventry.

We offer a full range of tax and accounting servicesbookkeeping, bespoke tax advice and audits too.