There are many different types of accountant; management accountant, tax accountant, financial accountant and public finance accountant, to name but a few. If you asked a thousand members of the public “what is an accountant?”, then you would quite likely get completley different answers! But what really is an accountant? Wikipedia describes an accountants as :

“An accountant is a practitioner of accountancy (called accounting in the United States), which is the measurement, disclosure or provision of assurance about financial information that helps managers, investors, tax authorities and other decision makers make resource allocation decisions.
The word “accountant” is derived from the French wordd Compter which took its origin from the word Computare. The word was written in Middle English as Accomptant, but in process of time the word, which was always pronounced by dropping the “p”, became gradually changed both in pronunciation and in orthography to its present form.”

It is certainly debatable whether or not this answers the question or simply creates further questions. Perhaps it would be better to focus on what an accountant does. Again if this question was asked to the public then you would get many and varied responses. The most common is likely to be “An accountant prepares accounts!” followed by “An accountant completes tax returns!” It is certainly true that the majority of an average accountants time in public practice is spent dealing with those activities. However, many accountants in the UK have evolved and offer many services above and beyond those traditionally associated with the profession.
These can include:
Business planning
Business benchmarking
Tax planning
Business modelling
Systems implementation
HR advice
Outsourcing
Business assurance
Forensic accounting
Expert witness
Cash flow management
Resource planning
Business growth development and advice
Company secretarial work
Financial advise, such as mortgages, pensions, insurance and investments
Auditing
Grant advise
Corporate finance

Of course this list is not comprehensive and not all UK accountants either offer or are authorised to provide all of the services above. If you are looking for an accountant in Swansea, or for that matter anywhere in the UK, then it is recommended that you choose only after careful consideration. An idea for items to consider may be:

Qualifications of the accountant
Authorisations for the firm
Does the accountant come with any recommendations?
Has the accountant got experience in carrying out similar work for similar clients?
Location of offices and ease to get to
Basis of charging, does the accountant offer a fixed rate?
Reputation
Guarantees, regulation by a professional body and adequate professional indemnity insurance.

Again this list is not intended to be exhaustive but a starting guide.

Many accountants have blogs such as South Wales accountants, which may give you a further insight into the firm.

If you choose your accountant with care then they could add so much value to your business.

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