If your accountant is doing just enough to get by, you may not realise you are being short-changed. Check our list below of the top 10 reasons to change your accountant. If they look uncomfortably familiar, it might be time for you to take the plunge and move your business on.
Our experienced UK Hull accountancy team is always here for new clients!
Reason #1: They Don’t Understand Your Business Properly
Your accountant doesn’t need to be a specialist in your industry, but it’s essential they have a decent understanding of your business. This means understanding the pressure points you might face, and what your challenges and peak periods are likely to be.
Accountancy is about far more than simple number-crunching and compliance. Without an appreciation of how your business works, you’ll only be getting generic advice – and that’s not what you really need. You should be able to expect your accountant to identify opportunities for your business, and to help you maximise profits. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t help you achieve this.
If you’re not sure whether an accountant offers a customised service, simply ask!
Reason #2: You Never Know How Much You’ll Be Charged
For many businesses, especially right now, every penny counts. This doesn’t mean you should cut back on essential outgoings but it’s important to make sure you understand the costs.
This philosophy extends to your accountant. No matter what type of package you have negotiated, the costs should be completely transparent. Your accountant should not have hidden fees that catch you by surprise, or extra costs they fail to mention.
This isn’t about using the cheapest accountant; very often this can be a false economy if they don’t include all costs in their quote. The overall goal is to be certain that you won’t end up with a bigger invoice than you were expecting and is a huge sign you should change accountant.
Reason #3: They Don’t Keep Up with New Legislation
Legislation around accounts, taxation and business can change rapidly and as a layperson, there’s no easy way to stay abreast of all developments. 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.
Keeping up with new and potential developments is part of your accountant’s remit. If they’re not doing this, or not advising you about essential changes you need to make, it’s a major failing on their part.
One of the latest concerns is if UK tax will be going up soon to compensate for the pandemic support packages. You can find out the latest information on that topic here.
Reason #4: They Only Offer the Bare Minimum
You might think your accountant is doing everything they’re supposed to be, but are they actually doing everything they could to support you? Are you fully aware of the comprehensive range of support and services an accountant should be offering as part of the package? That’s why we at Yorkshire Accountancy posted a lot of information about COVID-19 support – to help our clients and readers out. But that’s just a drop in the water.
If your accountant doesn’t proactively raise questions about cash flow, retirement, overheads or an exit plan, they’re not thinking beyond the basics. Doing just enough isn’t the same as getting a good service. You have every right to expect your accountant to be fully engaged with helping your business in every possible way.
Reason #5: They Don’t Use Technology Efficiently
You might not see technology as a priority but if your accountant isn’t making good use of what’s available, you could end up wasting time, money and energy. It’s no longer necessary to make appointments to receive an update or for your accountant to telephone you to pass on small details. The use of cloud technology and secure portals means it’s possible for you to communicate effectively from different locations.
If your accountant isn’t making use of technology, you could end up missing important deadlines or communication of vital information could be delayed. Having to take a trip to drop off documents is an unnecessary inconvenience when you could just scan and upload them to the cloud instead. That’s why our UK accountancy team are using Receipt Bank and other modern accountancy programmes that make everyone’s admin easier.
Reason #6: They Don’t Save You Money
An accountant is ideally placed to spot potential money-saving opportunities. As you focus on generating more profits, your accountant should be thinking about how you can maximise what you have.
In addition to the basic services such as calculating tax and making returns, your accountant should be helping you to save money. This could include business cost savings as well as ensuring you are tax efficient.
If your accountant doesn’t know your business well, they won’t be able to do this effectively. However, for many accountants, this is a core and fundamental part of the service and something you should expect to benefit from and is a real sign you should change accountant.
Reason #7: You Don’t 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 make it accessible. This means you’ll need to have a rapport with them that enables you to discuss even the most complicated subjects.
The amount of contact you have may vary depending on your business needs, but you should have a somewhat personal relationship with your accountant. This will ensure that you feel comfortable raising concerns or asking for more information if you don’t fully understand something.
If you find your accountant is unapproachable, or you feel embarrassed about asking them to explain some calculations, it’s might be time to look for someone new and change accountant.
Reason #8: You’re Fobbed Off to a Junior Partner
As already mentioned, your accountant is more than someone who just adds up the numbers and makes sure you fulfil your financial responsibilities by law. A good accountant can make a significant difference to your business, and the better they know you, the more impact they can have.
This is why having a strong relationship should be a priority. This is impossible to achieve if you’re constantly fobbed off to another, usually more junior, member of the company.
No matter whether your business is big or small, you have the right to be treated as important by your accountant. Not taking the time to respond to you personally is unacceptable and could hamper the service you get from them over the long term.
Reason #9: It’s Difficult to Reach Them When Needed
There’s no set amount of contact you should have with your accountant. You are free to make your own arrangements which suit your budget and your business. However, it should be frequent enough for your accountant to have a good grasp of your business and its needs.
There may also be times when you need to speak to your accountant on an ad-hoc basis. Easy access to financial advice is vital if you want to make quick decisions but this shouldn’t be difficult if you have an accountant.
However, if your accountant is difficult to get hold of, or doesn’t respond to a request for contact in a timely fashion, you may need to switch to someone else. Failing to get in touch could leave you unable to make an informed business decision – and could mean you lose an opportunity.
An accountant is a vital part of your business team. You wouldn’t put up with anyone else ignoring your requests, so why put up with it from your accountant?
Reason #10: Deadlines Aren’t Met and/or Mistakes are Made
Your accountant is there to make life easier and to ensure your business complies with all legal requirements. You are paying them to take responsibility, and you shouldn’t have to chase to make sure you meet an HMRC accounting deadline.
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.
Change Accountant if multiple reasons are met!
You may choose to overlook a one-off mistake, but if your accountant isn’t meeting deadlines or is making basic errors, you can’t afford to ignore these warning signs and you should change accountant as soon as possible.