If your accountant is just ticking boxes, you may not realise you are being short-changed.
Check out the list below and score your current accountant out of 10 for each. If they look uncomfortably familiar, it might be time to look for a new one.
#1: They don’t understand or care about your business Accountancy is about far more than number-crunching and compliance. Your accountant should be your most trusted advisor and 'go to' for business.
Without an appreciation of how your business works, you’ll only be getting generic advice at best – at worst - absolutely nothing. You should expect your accountant to identify opportunities for your business and to help maximise profits, so you can reach your goals. A conveyor belt, one-size-fits-all approach won’t help you achieve this.
#2: It’s difficult to reach them and get your calls returned If your accountant is difficult to get hold of, or doesn’t respond to a request for contact in a timely manner, you may need to switch to an accountant that does. Not only is it shockingly bad customer service, failing to get in touch could leave you unable to make an informed business decision. An accountant is a vital part of your overall business team, so why put up with it?
#3: You never know how much you’ll be charged No matter what type of package you have, the costs should be completely transparent. Your accountant should not have hidden fees that take by surprise, or extra costs they fail to mention. A monthly package with fixed fees is ideal for business owners. If you grow the fixed fee might go up (that's a sign you're doing well!), but there should not be hidden costs.
This isn’t about using the cheapest accountant; this is always a false economy. If you see an accountant as a 'cost' and not as a value added essential - you're with the wrong accountant.
#4: They are not business owners themselves or are unqualified Your accountant is more than someone who just adds up the numbers and makes sure you fulfil your financial responsibilities by law. A business savvy accountant can make a significant difference to your business and the better they know you, the more impact they can have.
As a basic, they should be ACCA/CIMA/ACA qualified. It makes sense for you as a business owner to be advised accountants who has been there and bought the t shirt themselves. How can they possibly understand what it's like otherwise and instill this knowledge into their team?
#5: They don’t keep Up with new legislation Legislation around accounts, taxation and business can change rapidly. You don't have time for that as a business owner. The best part of having an accountant is that you shouldn’t need to worry because they’ll let you know about anything new that could impact your business. If they’re not doing this, or not advising you about essential changes you need to make, it’s a real red flag.
#6: They only give you the bare minimum Are you fully aware of the full range of support and services your accountant should be offering ? If your accountant doesn’t proactively raise questions about cash flow, funding, retirement, overheads or an exit plan, they don't care and they’re not thinking beyond the basics of ticking boxes. Doing just enough isn’t good enough.
#7: They don’t Use technology efficiently You might not see technology as a big priority, but if your accountant isn’t embracing and adopting what’s available, you could end up wasting time and money. Not only does it saves masses of time and resource, essentially, they could end up missing deadlines, resulting in fines for you.
Also, having to drop off documents is an unnecessary inconvenience when you could just scan and upload them to the cloud instead - you're too busy to do all that manual stuff!
Look for a high level of certification with Xero or Quickbooks for the best accountants.
#8: They don’t save you money In addition to the basic services, your accountant should be helping you to save money, get funding, improve cashflow and make money. If your accountant doesn’t know or care about your business, they won’t be able to do this effectively and you lose out.
#9: You don’t really have a good relationship Wrapping your head around your business accounts can be a challenge at times, but it’s your accountant’s job to help see the wood for the trees This means you’ll need to have a rapport with them that enables you to discuss all sorts of stuff that affects your business. If you find your accountant is unapproachable, or you feel embarrassed about asking them for help, it’s might be time to change accountant.
Reason #10: Deadlines aren’t met and/or mistakes are made The holy grail of accountancy boo boos! Your accountant is there to make life easier not harder. You are paying them a fee to provide a service and get stuff filed on time as a bare minimum.
(we see this as a reason many business owners switch so many times)
If your returns are late you could face penalties or interest charges. Your accountant should be helping you to save money, not costing you more because of basic oversights - likely due to lack of technology in their business. Massive red flag.
YOUR TOTAL SCORE /10
If your accountant scores less than half, then you need to decide what's best for you and your business and if changing is the right move.
Purple Accounts makes switching from your current provider smooth and simple to do.
Flexible, friendly faff free accountants for business owners by business owners
Xero Gold Champion Partner
Monthly fixed fee packages
Certified Funding Advisors
7 Key Numbers report and business coaching
Get in touch for a no obligation chat to see how we can help you today.