How to Choose an Accounting Firm in Japan

Every enterprise, in any country, succeeds or fails depending not only on its income but also on its cash flow.  It is essential for a company’s owners and investors to know where they stand financially at all times.

An SME must also take into account (forgive the pun) its tax obligations. There will be corporate taxes, pension taxes for any employees, consumption taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes and so on.

As a result of this complex web of financial responsibilities, choosing the “right” accounting firm for your business is essential.

Companies that provide business support services in Japan can provide you with these services, but perhaps you would like to seek out an accounting firm on your own. Below are a few questions to ask in your search. Bear in mind that you will be conducting this search in Japanese. If your Japanese is not of N1 standard (highly proficient), you will need an expert translator to assist you.

Questions to ask a potential accounting firm:

  1. Do you deal with foreign-owned businesses on a regular basis?

This is an essential question and a fundamental need.

Foreign-owned businesses have financial obligations that differ from those of “home-grown” businesses. Not all accounting firms will be familiar with regulations regarding foreign-owned companies, which could lead to potential and sometimes catastrophic errors.

Using a firm that already has years of experience in the sector of foreign-owned business needs would, therefore, be a requirement of sound business.

  1. Do you provide both tax and accounting services?

Some accounting firms deal only with accounting. Others will have tax experts on hand as well. A company that provides both such services is ideal.

  1. Do you do upgrade your IT on a regular basis?

It has only been in the last few years that accounting firms have embraced “the cloud.” This is not necessarily due to such firms being stuck in their ways, but rather with the issue of security. Just how secure is the platform on which your accounting company places your information?

Should you do business with a firm that uses cloud-based technology?

The days are long past when a business only learns of its financial health every four months. Thanks to cloud technology, the owner or CEO of a company can look up information instantly – if the accounting firm makes that information available, securely, on the cloud.

  1. Do you have a multi-lingual staff?

Accounting firms that specialize in helping foreign-owned businesses may well have staff who can speak several languages, or they may simply engage the appropriate translator when needed. It is for each business owner to decide if they wish to do business through a translator or try to find an accounting firm that meets all the other essential requirements and has multi-lingual accountants.

  1. What are your fees?

All accounting firms do not charge the same for their services. You want the best services possible, but you do not want to overpay.

These are all essential questions to ask any accounting firm. If you’re looking for personalized assistance, working with a company like can take the guess-work out of the process of finding a top-quality accounting firm in Japan.

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