Every now and again, we hear of some real accounting horror stories that make us wince, either from business owners that come to us and want our help to get out of the mess that they are in, or from other accountants in the industry sharing their experiences.
It’s a shame that there are people out there that aren’t getting the support they need. Your accountant and you need to work as a team, and to ensure you choose someone that complements your business, rather than feels as though they’re working against you, you should heed these tales of woe.
Find out how much contact you and your accountant will have. We can’t tell you the number of soon-to-be clients that come to us who tell us they’ve never even met their accountant, only communicated with them over email, and in the worst cases, have missed a vital deadline or incurred penalties because their accountant doesn’t have their eye on the ball. Yes, of course, you’ve got to pay your accountant for their services, but if their incompetence leaves you out of pocket, it’s time to get rid!
We’ve heard that accountants sometimes charge ridiculous sums of money for an initial consultation. How crazy is that? An accountant is looking for your business, and so they charge you to meet them to find out what they do and whether they are a right fit? That, to us, is a definite no, no. Right from the start.
Accountants that say they’re more qualified than they are, or those that claim to be a member of a professional body, but then the client finds out their fees have lapsed. Not as common as some of the other stories we’ve heard, but it still happens. So thoroughly check the credentials of the accountant before you hire them. If something goes wrong, you haven’t got the security of a professional body behind you.
Huge bills from an accountant is definitely one that we come across more often than we like to hear. People who have perhaps taken up more of their accountant’s time on a specific issue, and then have been landed with a massive bill at the end of the month. Not something you’ve budgeted for, so ensure you don’t choose an accountant that’s likely to surprise you with additional fees. Pay a set amount. End of.
Accountants that still work in the dark ages. We’ve seen some books that show that previous accountants had no clue as to changes in legislation or other rules that could make a huge difference to the amount of tax clients need to pay, so were effectively throwing their clients’ money down the drain. Now if that’s not enough of a horror story, we don’t know what is! So you need to find out what your accountant is doing to keep on top of what’s going on in the accounting world. Their personal development could save you thousands, so if they aren’t doing it, then kick them to the kerb.
If all this fills you with dread, we’re sorry, we’re not out to give you the heebie-jeebies, but just to show you what could happen if you don’t do due diligence when choosing an accountant to work with.
And of course, if you want some peace of mind, then do come and talk to us, we can guarantee that we don’t do any of the above!!!