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Expat Articles » Finding an Accountant in a Foreign Country: What You Need to Know

Finding an Accountant in a Foreign Country: What You Need to Know

By Connor Davies, Aspirations Abroad

Adapting to a completely new tax system is one of the least exciting things about working in a new country. Sorting out your taxes can be frustrating wherever you live, but when you move to a completely different country—one in which English may not even be the primary language—things can become downright nightmarish.

In short, you are going to need to find yourself an accountant.

The Best Place to Start Your Search: The Expat Community

The expat community is the place to go to seek out answers to all of the questions you may have about your new home. Here you will almost certainly find someone else who once had the same questions and now has the answers you need.

Go to quiz nights, Hash House Harriers meetings, whatever is going on in your neck of the woods, and get involved in the community.

In no time at all you should be able to find at least one person who can recommend a good English-speaking accountant, but the chances are you’ll probably have a few to choose from (and while you’re there you might as well ask about finding a good lawyer, doctor, and estate agent).

Other Options for Finding an Accountant

If the expat community is particularly small or by some stroke of misfortune you are unable to find an accountant this way, you have a few other options.

One of these is to contact an accountant back in your home country and ask them if they can help out. Many accountancy firms have offices in other countries, and if they do not then they may well know of accountancy firms operating in your region.

There are also some associations and clubs that you might want to look into including the International Federation of Accountants. Accountants you find here may well know other accountants in your area, so it is always worth asking.

One Problem You Might Encounter

I am currently on my third accountant after the first two did not work out. Why? Because the concept of working online was, quite simply, something that they had never encountered before.

Although working online may be very common in many parts of the world, in some places, if your job does not fit into a nice, tidy category, issues can arise.

The fact that I live in one country but earn money in another was something the first two accountants were not keen to get involved in, making me feel like some kind of international money launderer.

In the end, once I had found an accountant who had experience of working with other expats—many of whom were in a similar line of work to myself—the solution turned out to be remarkably simple.

Without him, however, I would have been lost.

There is always a solution when you are working out your taxes—it’s just that it is better to pay an expert who knows what they are talking about rather than try and figure it out for yourself.

Don’t Make Things Harder On Yourself

There are many differences that you will have to get used to when you move to a new country, so don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Finding an accountant should be one of the first things that you do, and it will be one of the best investments that you make when you move overseas.


© Connor Davies

Connor Davies lives in Argentina where he enjoys a location-independent existence working as a freelance writer, marketer, and English teacher amongst other things. For more information on making a living from anywhere in the world, you’ll find all you need to know—and a free ebook to get you started—at Aspirations Abroad.