One of the most important and closest relationships a business owner has is with their accountant! They end up knowing your business and personal life inside out.
That’s one of the reasons why a lot of business owners are reluctant to change their accountant, even when they know that they might not be getting everything they need. They put up with poor service and a lack of support as it seems too hard to change and to rebuild that relationship with a new accountant.
But you often still have that nagging feeling you might get better support, advice and service elsewhere. Support that could potentially save you thousands in tax or finally help you understand your numbers.
But how can you tell when the right time is to make that change? To help you we’ve used our 25 years’ experience in public practice to come up with the top 3 reasons why it might be time to change your accountant.
You’re not getting the service and support you need
Often the biggest frustration we hear from business owners about their accountant is that –
They’re hard to get hold of – not returning their calls or emails. Or that they only hear from them once a year, at tax time.
In other words, they’re not getting the service or support they need.
I’m going to let you into a trade secret, that I’m sure other accountants won’t like me sharing. Most accounting firms end up taking on too many clients and then don’t have time to service them properly.
The partner is struggling to keep up. They built a team around them to try and cope, but while those guys are good at getting the technical work done, they’re often not good at communicating with clients (well come on, they are accountants).
Then that falls back on the partner and with the best will in the world they just can’t keep up.
That’s one of the reasons why we’ve limited the number of clients we service at Wear Accountants.
I’ve created a boutique accounting practice where we only work with a limited group of equally important business clients, so that we can give them the support they need.
I’ve seen the other approach done over the years by partners and I don’t want that. I’m not looking to build a big practice but instead work closely with a small group of motivated business owners. That means my clients will get better service and its more rewarding work for us. I think they call that a win / win.
If you’re not getting the service and support you need from your accountant then it’s possible that they’re too busy. They have too many clients to service properly.
It could also be that the make-up of the clients that your accountant is looking after has changed. They’ve had a number of larger clients come on board and that is taking up their time and they’re just not getting to you.
These are both very common problems I’m afraid!
The danger is that if they are too busy to service and support you, they might also not have time to review your accounts and tax properly. They’re just pumping out the same each year to get it done quickly without reviewing it to see if there are things they could be doing to save you tax, improve your profits, maximise your income or to protect your assets.
Lack of service or support isn’t something you should put up with from your accountant. If you’re not getting what you need it might be time to look at making the change.
You’re not getting the right tax advice and might be paying too much tax
Our tax system is a self-assessment system. That means it’s down to you to make sure you assess your situation properly and make use of any tax saving strategies to legitimately minimise your tax.
Most business owners leave this to their accountant to look after, which is the right thing to do. But how do you know if they’re doing everything they can to legitimately minimise your tax?
The bottom line is that you don’t! Unless you want to go away and learn all the tax legislation yourself, but then what’s the point of having your accountant. Don’t do that, you won’t need us anymore!
Seriously you don’t have time for that, you have a business to run. It’s right to leave that to the experts, but how can you tell if you’re getting the right tax advice.
Some of the clues are in what your accountant is asking you and what they are doing. For example, is your accountant:
- Talking to you before the end of the year about implementing tax saving strategies
- Discussing options to minimise your tax or how to maximise government benefits when they are preparing your accounts and tax returns
- Preparing tax payment projections so you know what and when you need to pay your tax
- Reviewing your business structure every 3 to 4 years to see if it’s set up to minimise your tax, while protecting your assets
If your accountant isn’t doing all or any of these things, then there’s a real danger you might not be getting the right tax advice and might be paying too much tax.
The only way to really find out is to get an independent review from another accountant. That’s why we offer a complimentary tax review to all potential clients. It’s a chance for business owners to get a second opinion to see if they’re setup properly to legitimately minimise their tax.
If you’d like to do that then please click here to book in a call for us to have a chat.
You’re not getting the right business advice or help understanding your numbers
What type of accountant do you have – are they a tax accountant or a business accountant?
Not all accountants are the same! Just because someone says they are an accountant it doesn’t mean they know everything about accounting.
In the accounting world, you have tax accounting and business accounting. They aren’t the same. All accountants in public practice have to be across tax accounting but not all accountants are business accountants as well.
That means that a lot of accountants aren’t focused or comfortable dealing with the business side of accounting.
This is often why you don’t get good business advise or help understanding your numbers from your accountant. They’re great on the tax side of things and will do a great job on your tax accounts, but don’t advise you on how to make better use of your accounting software or how to understand what your profit and loss is telling you.
Numbers are the language of business; they show you what’s working and what’s not. As a business owner you don’t have to be an expert, but it would be good to have an accountant who can teach you the basics and give you advice so that you can make better decisions to improve your results.
You can often tell what type of accounting you have by looking at the services they’re offering or promoting. For example, do they offer:
- Accounting software, set up, training and support
- Bookkeeping and payroll
- Calculating your break-even
- Preparing budgets and forecasts
- Cash flow forecast and management
- Monthly or quarterly financial reporting and analysis
If you’re in business and you want business advice from your accountant, then you need to make sure your accountant is a business accountant as well as a tax accountant. And if they’re not then it might be time to make a change.
I hope you found this useful. If you’d like to find out more about how we could support you with your accounting, then we have two ways to help you out.
- You can download our free 28-point checklist that shows you everything you should be doing to stay compliant, minimise tax, protect your assets and manage your finances – click here
- You can Book your 15-minute discovery session call to find out IF and HOW we can help you and then, if relevant, we’ll book your complimentary tax review – click here