No one wants to fire their accountant. Or, maybe more accurately, it takes an awful lot to fire your accountant. Why? Well, a few reasons. It’s a relationship-based business, so oftentimes, you have strong connections to the person you hired. Additionally, it’s often reassuring to have the same folks do your accounting every year. That way, you know their strategy, system, and when you’ll be paying your taxes.
That said, people DO still fire their accountants. Why? Do you need to fire yours? Well, we thought we’d take a look at three big reasons WE see folks leaving their accountants for greener pastures.
Communication has stopped completely (or never started)
Communication is key to any relationship, that includes your accountant. When the words stop flowing, you know you’re in trouble. So what does that ACTUALLY look like? Well, it could mean that your questions are going unanswered, or that you’re getting one word answers when they do respond. It could also mean that the answer you’re getting is very cut-and-dried, black-and-white. Oftentimes accounting issues are complex – a good accountant will explain their reasoning to you and help you understand why something might be good or bad for your business.
This brings us to something else we see a lot in regard to client communication. When you bring a new idea to your accountant, do you find them telling you ‘no’ a lot? We’ve heard that a lot from clients about their former accountants. Something to the effect of, “It feels like my accountant works for the IRS.”
We encourage our clients to think outside the box. After all, if you’re coming up with new ideas it means that you’re engaged and active in your tax and business planning – who doesn’t like that? It doesn’t mean that we’ll always agree with you, but we won’t just dismiss an idea out of hand. A big piece of our firm is financial education. We see those moments as times to educate ourselves (on YOUR business) as well as our clients (about tax and back office ‘stuff’).
A recent example of why communication with your accountant is so important.
Recently, we had a client ask us about an R&D credit that they’d heard about. While we knew it wasn’t exactly the right fit for them, it helped us figure out where their mind is with regard to growing their business and understanding their tax plan. We were actually able to help them find alternative opportunities just based on that discussion.
Surprise tax bills
This one feels obvious, but it’s true: people don’t like it when they get a surprise tax bill. After all, isn’t the point of hiring a tax professional that you DON’T get a surprise bill? While this can happen even with a comprehensive tax plan, if it feels like your accountant is always scrambling before tax season with your account – well, let’s just say it doesn’t engender good feelings toward them.
It’s not hard to see why, standing in line at the post office, making sure that a check goes out on time isn’t our idea of a good time. Even worse is not knowing that you’d have a bill – and don’t have the cash on hand to cover it. And worse than this? Having a capital gains tax sneak up on you.
That’s the difference between a monthly accountant and an annual (one that looks at your business once a year) accountant. We’re there with you every step of the way, helping you plan so that you aren’t getting surprise tax bills that can hurt your growth – or worse, ruin your business.
The work just isn't getting done
To be fair, this is a reason to fire virtually anyone. It IS mind boggling to us that it can happen with your accountant. So what does this look like? Well, things like letting your tax return go until the very last extension, or having your sales tax not get filed. Those are huge stressors for a business owner. It can mean that you don’t know how much money you actually have to plan with, it could mean penalties from the IRS, and in some cases it could even mean getting your business license pulled. No one should lose their business because their accountant forgot to file their payroll tax.
That’s precisely why we create a comprehensive plan for your business at the start of working together. With Kaizen, we’re looking to get organized and take a proactive approach to your finances. While that can mean a bit more leg work at the beginning, in our experience it pays off in a big way when it comes to year-end tax filing.
Stop feeling anxious about a half-baked tax plan from an advisor you never hear from. We’re ready to walk you through what you need to do to not only survive tax season – but to thrive through it. Ready to find out how we do things a little different?