Lots of people find an accountant and stick with them. That’s all well and good if they’re doing great work for you – but how do you know when it’s time to think about changing? Here are seven signs that you probably need a new accountant.
They make you feel stupid for not knowing things about accounting
This is a big one, and it might be the most important. Let’s be clear: you are not an accountant. That’s why you’ve hired them – to look after all the things you don’t understand.
It’s ridiculous, then, that lots of accountants make their clients feel stupid for asking questions about accounting. If you knew all the answers already, they’d be out of a job. When it comes to your business and looking after your money, there should be no silly questions.
They bamboozle you with technical jargon
Being overly technical and using language you don’t understand isn’t helpful, and it doesn’t make for clear conversations about what you need to do next. Lots of professions are guilty of using jargon, but accountants can be some of the worst.
If you find your accountant talking about your tax liability (bill!) or you don’t understand what they mean by accounts receivable, ask them to explain things in layman’s terms. That’s part of their job.
They don’t tell you about deadlines
It sounds obvious, but there are lots of deadlines you have to meet as a business – whether it’s filling out your self-assessment or filing your VAT return.
Remember that, even if you’ve trusted an accountant to take care of your tax affairs, you might be the one to cop the penalty fine if deadlines are missed or things go wrong. If your accountant doesn’t tell you about these deadlines with plenty of time, it’s time to rethink.
They don’t ask you questions about you and your business
The best accountants take the time to get to know you and your business – it’s an important part of working out how we can support you properly.
If your accountant isn’t asking you about your ambitions, goals, or growth plans, they’re not thinking ahead, and won’t be able to help you get where you want to go. A tick-box approach doesn’t work, and one size doesn’t fit all. Make sure they’re invested in understanding you.
They seem to be scared of technology
There are so many platforms and different software options to help you automate your accounting, and they’re great for saving you time and money. Accountants who are genuinely invested in helping their clients grow will always advise on what tech they should embrace – because they understand that tech supports, rather than replaces the need for, good accountants.
If your accountant is hesitant about tech, or seems reluctant to recommend it to you, ask why. If there’s no good answer – walk away.
You can’t get hold of them how and when you need to
Being able to talk to your accountant how and when you’d like to is a pretty key requirement. Since the pandemic, over 75% of people said they’d expect at least some degree of digital communication from their accountant, while for others, being able to pop in for a coffee and a chat face-to-face is really important.
If your accountant isn’t willing to adapt and communicate with you in the way that you’d prefer – or you can’t get a reply from them when you need to – chances are you’ll be able to find someone who will.
You’re not sure if they’re actually human
Accountants are typically quite good at hiding the fact that, behind all the bookkeeping and tax returns, they’re actually human beings. But at the end of the day, people do business with people.
Being overly formal or stand-offish, or keeping their distance from you when you try to talk about something that isn’t strictly finance-focused, is an old-skool way of working – and it doesn’t help you. 91% of people now expect their accountant to be warm and friendly. If yours isn’t, it might be time to think about what type of customer service you want to receive, and where else you could find it.
If you’re looking for a new accountant or would like to talk about how we could help you and your business, get in touch.