Are you getting top service from your accountant?

For many businesses an accountant is selected as the company is formed and from that moment on they never look back. They don’t even look sideways. The selection of an accountant can often come down to one crucial factor:

• Local company
• Near the office/factory
• Cost effective
• Word of mouth
• Know someone that works there
• Most visible in town
• Trusted large franchise with a good national reputation
• They made an excellent first impression

These are all valuable traits for an accountancy firm to possess and although we would recommend shopping around, enjoying a few free consultations and finding a firm that feels comfortable for you – a gut feeling is sometimes enough! The problem comes when you trust your accountant without paying attention to a thing they are doing. Just because they are dealing with the financial side of things does not mean you can afford to switch off.

Here are some signals that perhaps your accountant isn’t doing everything in their power to deliver you the service you deserve:

• Poor communication – some people only hear from their accountant as part of a generic mailing list reminding them it is time to bring their books in. We contact our clients to prevent stresses before they occur like the introduction of Real Time Information. We set up workshops and made sure all of their details were up-to-date well ahead of HMRC’s deadline. We also schedule regular meetings with clients to discuss their accounts and make sure they are fully aware of what is going on. Also, if an accountancy firm have not got back to an email you sent within two days – they are not efficient enough – 1 day is the ideal.

• Accumulative errors like misspelt addresses/names, late filing, tax code mishaps….these are all liveable with once provided they apologise and go out of their way to make up for it. But, if the errors keep building then it is time to look elsewhere.

• Escalating costs – since you started with them their costs have seemed to spike and you begin to question whether they are still value for money.

• You talk to other business owners and they seem to have drastically smaller tax bills, a lot more correspondence through from their accountant – in fact they seem almost to be on first named terms with them! An unusually large tax bill could be a sign of poor accounting and the lack of a personal connection is often because you have become a direct debit payment to you accountant and nothing more than that.

It is the little touches that matter here. You should feel valued as a client because accountants are the one group of people you can talk business to, where the other party is in full possession of the facts. They know your business intimately so their value to you should be much more than an email telling you when your books are due in.

A good accountancy firm are a support network and you won’t see them as stuffy suited number crunchers but decent human beings that care whether your cash flow is keeping you awake at night or not! If you have any concerns go in and see your accountants and discuss them face to face. Give them chance to respond and make a difference.

Too many people glue themselves to their accountants without a second thought but they are providing you a service and it is not an exclusive field. If you are genuinely not happy then changing accountants is not the big hassle some people believe it is. If you think you may have been forgotten then your accountant is not delivering the service you need so find one that will!

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