Are you unhappy with your accountant’s services? You’re not alone. Only 61% of small business owners are happy with their accountants. This means that nearly 40% of these business owners are dissatisfied with one of the most influential professionals on their teams.
That dissatisfaction can have a rippling effect, impacting a business’s future growth and ability to reach its goals.
The good news is that you don’t have to stay with your current accountant if you’re not happy with the relationship. If you’ve been on the fence about switching firms, here are five signs that it’s time to find a new accountant.
1. They Don’t Know Your Goals
Does your accountant know your goals, dreams, and objectives? If not, it may be time to find a new one.
When your accountant knows where you want to go – both in life and business – they can better advise you.
Ideally, your accountant should take the time upfront to have a discussion about your:
- Personal goals, both for the short-term and long-term
- Business goals
Armed with this information, your accountant can help you make decisions more strategically and in a way that aligns with your vision for the future.
Let’s say that you want to invest in new equipment. When your accountant understands this goal and your other short- and long-term business goals, they can help you start preparing now to minimize the financial impact of that investment in the future. They may suggest tax planning strategies, budget adjustments and other avenues to ensure your business has the cash to invest in new equipment when the time comes.
If there’s a recession looming, they may suggest delaying your investment until things improve.
If your accountant doesn’t know your vision for the future, they cannot provide the level of personalized guidance you want and need both as an individual and as a business owner.
2. They Aren’t Proactive
How often does your accountant reach out? Are you only having meetings a few times a year max? If so, this may be a sign that it’s time to find a new accountant.
In business, it takes money to make money. Every decision has financial implications that must be considered. Your accountant should be proactive in advising you on these matters and helping you make strategic decisions.
A good accountant will reach out regularly to review your current situation and advise you to help you:
- Achieve your goals
- Boost profit margins
- Reduce your tax burden
- Build a life and a business that you love
Proactive accountants are always one step ahead, helping clients see around blind corners.
If you have an SMB, your accountant should be providing another perspective, helping you obtain your financial goals and understand the financial implications of your decisions.
For example, let’s say that you want to launch a new product or expand into a new market. A proactive accountant can help you understand:
- The infrastructure you will need
- Whether you’re in a financial position to handle expansion
- How the decision will impact your current ops
- When you’ll need to hire, and what would be the trigger to move forward with expanding the team
A reactive accountant would, instead, critique you on what you should have done after the fact rather than guiding you in the right direction from the start.
One of the biggest complaints businesses have is that their accountant is more reactive than proactive. If your current accountant fits into this category, it may be time to look for a new one.
3. They Lack Good Communication
Is your accountant hard to reach? If they’re taking multiple days to reply to your messages and phone calls, it may be time to start looking for a new accountant.
Even in the middle of busy season, your accountant should take the time to communicate with you.
But good communication skills extend beyond just reaching out regularly. Your accountant should also be setting clear expectations, such as:
- What they need from you and when
- What they will provide in return
- When they will provide deliverables
Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to expectations. Transparency and clarity on what’s needed and when can go a long way in preventing dissatisfaction and delays that can lead to missed deadlines and missed opportunities.
4. They’re Not Timely
Is your accountant:
- Missing deadlines?
- Slow to inform you about changes in regulations or laws?
- Failing to keep your books up to date?
These are all red flags that should concern you as a business owner. Accountants must be timely to provide clients with the best service possible and to ensure that they’re remaining compliant with laws and regulations.
If your accountant is routinely behind on deadlines and failing to maintain your books, then what is the value in their service? It may be time to move on and find an accountant who values your business and wants to help you succeed.
5. They’re Costing You Opportunities
Here’s another tell-tale sign that it’s time to switch accountants: you need more than just basic tax preparation and reconciliation of your books.
Yes, your accountant may be cheap, but it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. There’s a good chance that you’re missing out on big opportunities to grow your business and reach your financial goals.
Quality accountants offer more than just tax preparation and bookkeeping assistance. They can also help you:
- Develop plans and strategies to grow your business
- Improve your profit margins
- Reduce your taxes
Sure, these professionals come at a higher cost, but they will pay for themselves many times over. They become your sounding board, working through major opportunities and challenges with you while helping you achieve your goals.
An accountant can be your greatest ally in business, helping you achieve your goals and make smarter decisions. But they can only do this if they understand your vision for the future, take a proactive approach in their advisory role, and are on the ball when it comes to communication and deadlines.
Bottom line, it may be time to find a new accountant if they’re doing little more than preparing your taxes and reconciling your books
To learn more about how your accountant can help your business grow or to schedule an appointment, click here.