Are you thinking of leaving your current Accountant? In my experience, this can be a very stressful topic for business owners. They are unhappy and want to find a new advisor but they hold back. People do not like conflict and feel a sense of loyalty.
When they discuss this conflict with me I have one question for them:
Why were you thinking of switching?
Poor Customer Service
The most common response relate to the service they receive. I recently spoke to a business owner who was one year behind in filing their tax returns. They brought the books to their Accountant and now they are two years behind as the Accountant hasn’t gotten to it. I have worked in public practice for 10 years and know that there are usually two sides to that story. But speaking with this particular client, they had felt they had provided all information and responded to any questions promptly thus were not sure why it had not been released. Regardless of the reason, this is poor customer service. If the client was still providing something needed to finish up they should be aware of it. Or if the Accountant did have all the information why wasn’t it done? They can’t blame busy season as it does not last for a whole year.
Variations of this response are: I feel just like a number, they don’t care, they don’t respond to my emails or calls etc.
I find this mind boggling. My own perception is that we are a customer service business. All businesses are a customer service business because without customers you have no business!
If you are in the above predicament, I am not saying immediately fire your Accountant. By all means, call them or email and ask to set up a call regarding some concerns your having. Tell them you had different expectations on timing etc. and ask if they can provide a timeline. If you still do feel loyalty and want to give them a second chance, you need to let them know in what ways they are failing you so they can fix it.
They don’t seem to really get the integrations I have. This response relates to connecting your accounting software with other software / apps such as connecting your Shopify store (e-commerce store) or Square to your accounting for the sales transactions.
There are specific specialists you could just use for this area but if your Accountant is not staying up on the latest that is a concern. There are so many apps available that it may be hard to find an expert but if that is important to you many accounting software companies let you search for advisors based on the integrations they have experience with.
Comments on price really come back to the customer service comments. In this situation the business owner is not seeing the value in what they are paying for.
Eg. One business owner I had really like to do his own accounting and then would have his accountant clean up the books at year end. The cost was astronomical (to him) for this clean up. The Accountant recommended he get a bookkeeper if he wanted to reduce the costs of fixing it. When I brought on this client, I transitioned him to a cloud software and I convinced him to pay me to do the books for a specific period of time (3 months). From this, I was able to add in a number of rules to the accounting so the software recognized transactions etc. and would suggest the entries. I then gave him a training session on the software.
We completely automated his system using a cloud solution and he now never uses cash. Now, he calls me randomly if he buys equipment and does not know how to code the entry. I then log in to this software (virtually) and walk him through it. There are no big unexpected fees at year end and he knows where he is at any point in time.
I am not telling you this example to toot my own horn but just to show you an example of a business owner who didn’t see the value in what he was paying. He wanted to reduce costs and have control over his own books. What he needed was training on how to do it.
Concluding Thoughts and Recommendation
If you want to leave your Accountant, I will tell you a secret, you can. The switch can be easy â€“ that being said if you have engaged them to complete a year end it will be more expensive to switch halfway through. Thus it is better to start fresh with a new year end. The new Accountant can take care of authorizations with the Canada Revenue Agency and walk you through other transition processes.
If you are not happy with your Accountant, it comes down to business. You need to have the right people on your team who are looking to push you forward not hold you back. We aren’t for everyone but if you are looking for a virtual solution drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or ask around and find out about another great CPA near you. Best of luck.
Virtual Heights Accounting is a CPA and Business Coaching firm located in Rossland, BC. We are a virtual firm focused on using cloud based technologies to reduce the administrative burden of business owners. Focusing on bookkeeping, accounting, business coaching and development with a tech focus. www.vhaccounting.ca. The above represent our own opinions any comments, please comment here or feel free to contact us.