Just like how you carefully manage your business to make sure everything is ticking over properly, you should also pay the same attention to the person who is looking after your books too.
Accountants near you can help you with a wide range of financial services. But to make sure you are getting the best possible experience, there are some red flags you need to look out for.
Here are 5 signs it’s time to find a new accountant to tell you more.
You Are Paying Too Much
Hiring an accountant will incur some expense, but it shouldn’t be the case that they are costing you an absolute fortune. If in doubt, it’s worth shopping around. Have a look at what other accounts charge for the same services to see if what you’re paying is about right or an absolute rip off.
Alternatively, if you want to stay with the same accountant, ask for a breakdown of their charges. It could be you are signed up to services you aren’t aware of but are actually integral to the running of your business. Don’t settle for anything that’s not, though.
They Baffle You With Complicated Jargon
Accountancy is an industry full of complex language and as such, you are going to hear quite a few terms that might go over your head at first. Here’s the thing though, it’s your accountant’s job to deal with the complicated matters relating to your financial affairs – not you.
While they of course need to explain certain procedures to you, it shouldn’t be the case you leave a meeting with them feeling completely exasperated. If your accountant doesn’t break everything down on a human level, it might be time to switch to someone who does.
They Condone Bad Practice
Tax evasion schemes are no laughing matter. In fact, taking part in one could land you in prison or at best with a hefty fine because they are strictly illegal. Tell-tale signs your accountant condones them are that they suggest adding personal items to your business expenses. Or if they tell you to pocket cash ‘off the books’.
A good way to check if you are dealing with a reputable firm is to see if they are registered with any relevant trade bodies. For example, ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales), or ACCA (Association of Chartered Accountants).
The basics of accountancy are that more money should be coming in than is going out so that your books look healthy. However, there are so many rules, regulations and practices that are constantly changing that your accountant needs to be aware of. Otherwise, you could be given the wrong information or even subject to HMRC fines.
These days with the number of webinars, trade shows, newsletters and blogs out there, there’s really no excuse not to be in the loop. So, look out for an accountant who is constantly training their staff, rather than a firm who refuses to embrace the present day.
We’re all human so mistakes will happen even with the best of intentions. But given this is your accounts we are talking about, there’s only so much you can forgive. For example, forgetting to submit your tax return after filling it out. Or even recording the wrong expenses. The list of potential errors is endless, and if they happen to be pretty careless ones, you need to question whether you have the right person for the job or not.
If you don’t have absolute confidence in your accountant, then your business output could suffer as a result. There’s really no excuse for messing up what they are specifically hired for, especially if it’s become a regular occurrence. That’s why a fresh pair of eyes is probably needed in the form of a new accountant.
To Sum Up
The best accountants are highly trained, professional individuals. They work efficiently and confidentially to manage your business finances. Their advice and actions should be something that promotes the health of your business, not jeopardise it.
If any of the above sounds familiar, then it’s time to find a new accountant who can restore good working order to your books to give peace of mind.