9 attributes to look out for when appointing an accountant

9 attributes to look out for when appointing an accountant

Chanel Raath (Director of Cornerstone Tax and Accounting Services)

Warren Buffet famously said that “Accounting is the language of business” and thereby reiterating the absolute importance of correct, professional, and clever accounting within every business.

We wholeheartedly agree with Mr Buffet, and we would add to that our belief that accounting is only ever as good as your accountant. And if accounting is in fact the language of business, you need someone that is fluent and capable of adapting quickly and learn swiftly – all while ensuring the client stays their number one priority.

At Cornerstone Tax and Accounting Services, we take pride in the world-class level of service we give our clients as well as our continuous efforts to educate and empower our clients across the Cornerstone Financial Services Group. With that ethos in mind, here are a few ways to judge whether your accountant is fluent in the language of business:

Excellent organization skills

Accounting is all about precision, therefore your accountant must keep up with all figures, data, and paperwork in their daily jobs. This would most likely mean having a rock-solid system in place to ensure they can find client information quickly a finish tasks in record time.

Killer time management skills

Today, accountants are playing an increasingly important role in contributing to strategic decision-making, so their schedules are full to the brim. They need to take care of many tasks beyond financial management and should be able to prioritize them to make the most from their time at work.

Attention to detail

These traits are obviously key in the daily reality of accountants who need to make sure that numbers work and are correct. An eye for details and due diligence for accuracy should be part of their modus operandi, not something they need to be reminded of.

Focus on the client

Being an accountant means not only dealing with numbers, but with clients as well. That’s why accountants should have a strong orientation toward meeting client requirements – they need to understand the industry, sector, and client in detail. An accountant’s advice is always of value and knowing their way around a sector is the best way to make it more relevant and actionable.


You read correctly – great accountants have creative minds. They’re the ones who practice out-of-the-box thinking to come up with fresh solutions – some client problems aren’t textbook cases and require special attention and a degree of creativity to solve.

Extreme trustworthiness

The kind of information accountants deal with every day is extremely confidential. One of the most important features of a great accountant is that they never impart any knowledge to third parties. This is the ethical way to conduct an accounting business and every good accounting firm should have a reputation of confidentially and professionalism.

Great communication skills

Needless to say, accountants must be able to communicate and collaborate with colleagues from different departments and clients from various walks of life. They must be able to communicate complex financial data and insights to clients with limited or no financial background. Communicating clearly, appropriately and skilfully is vital to any accountant and key to developing successful relationships with clients.


Accountants who are able to embrace challenges and effectively respond to changes in working environments make up for very valuable partners to any organization. In the digital age, offices change at an accelerated pace and accountants must be able to adapt and take advantage of those alterations. A high degree of agility is also necessary for responding to regulatory changes in the industry – only then they can provide quality service.

Commitment to the sector

Accountants should commit themselves to the ethical code of conduct as prescribed by regulatory bodies like The South African Institute for Business Accountants (SAIBA) and The South African Institute for Tax Practitioners (SAIT).  These regulatory bodies are in place to protect companies and individuals and to help ensure that they get the appropriate level of service.

Does your accountant have all these qualities? If not, we would strongly advise to get in touch with Cornerstone Tax and Accounting Services today. Our service and knowledge base is unmatched and our pricing model is incredibly competitive. Call us on 011 794 6611 or email info@cstaa.co.za. You can also visit our website, www.cstaaa.co.za to learn more about our bespoke and exclusive business solutions.

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