Top 10 reasons why you might need to change Accountants
Updated: Aug 27
You ran your Business for a while now, you’ve worked with the same Accountant or Bookkeeper for years, but something doesn’t feel right anymore… You’re wondering if you’re getting the best value out of your Accounting Team but you’re also not sure how to quantify and confirm that.
With this being such a common challenge for Business Owners, I thought it would be beneficial to share these top 10 reasons why it may be time to change Accountants or at least get a second opinion to make sure you’re getting everything you need. And I encourage all of my Clients to continue to use this list as a benchmark to keep me accountable :). Let’s get right into it:
1. Your Accountant is too busy for you!
If you have an Accountant who is not responsive enough, and doesn’t return calls or emails within at least 24 hours, it might be time for a change. In their defense however, it might take a while to find answers to a particular question a Client might have, but your Accountant is supposed to, at least, acknowledge every request upon receipt and give you an idea of when you might hear back from him.
2. You have had the same Accountant forever.
To be honest, it is very easy to be content as an Accountant. The job can be fairly redundant, especially if your books don’t necessarily present a big challenge from a financial perspective. Therefore, a lot of Accountants would only offer you the bare minimum once they have you as Clients, just to keep you on board, but the reality is, you might need more. I would always recommend doing your own research and finding an Accountant or two in your area, that offers a free consultation for you to check and see if you’re getting everything you need. You have nothing to lose but an hour of your time. Do this exercise at least once a year.
3. You only hear from your Accountant during tax season.
This is a very common phenomenon, not only because most Small Business Owners rarely think about their books, and on the other hand, because many Accountants are comfortable with waiting for tax season to charge you the “big bucks” to clean up your mess before filing. But there’s a better way…
I believe that a great Accountant would make sure that you get to see an updated Profit & Loss statement and Balance Sheet every month, or at the very least, every quarter. Your Accountant is supposed to teach you this stuff! I recently read that the majority of Business Owners have 70 to 90% of their net worth tied up in their business. I understand that it is hard to fall in love with numbers, and most Entrepreneurs prefer to delegate that entirely to their Accountant, but remember, this is your money! You do need to stay on top of it, and a great and transparent Accountant, who behaves as a Partner to you, should also make an effort to keep you updated regularly.
4. Cost, obviously.
If it feels too expensive, it probably is. True, you may not understand Accounting well enough to truly pinpoint why you feel this way, but it simply means for whatever reason, you don’t feel like you’re getting the value you’re paying for and your Accountant has not done a good job of helping you adequately, for you to understand his or her value to your Business. That is all the understanding you need. Time to shop around!
5. Your Accountant does not understand your Industry.
Some Accountants focus on a specific niche, and are experts in one area. Depending on how complex your Industry is, it might be beneficial to find an Accountant that specializes in your Industry (based on my experience, I found that to be true in the Construction Industry for example). But even if you work with someone with more of a general practice, you do need to see signs that they are always doing proper research to help you adequately and stay on top of the rules and regulations in your field.
6. Your Accountant never meets deadlines as promised.
The tough part about Accounting sometimes are audits and reconciliations, because it is not unusual to get stuck on something and spend too much time trying to make the numbers tie. But apart from that, Accountants are supposed to be detail oriented and deadline driven because of how important the information we hold is. Putting myself in my Client’s shoes, I would hate to be told to expect something on a specific date and not receive it on time. Your Accountant should be able to assess his workload well enough, to give you realistic expectations, taking into consideration the worst case scenario on his end.
7. Too rigid, not Entrepreneurial minded.
I personally believe that my biggest asset as an Accountant is my Entrepreneurial experience and mindset. By having an MBA, working for many years with Entrepreneurs and starting a few Companies on my own, I’ve developed a good sense of what it’s like to be on the other side of the table. The good AND the bad. Unfortunately, most Accountants are not Entrepreneurs at all, and can’t really see the world from your lenses, which could be a bigger problem than you think. I believe that finding an entrepreneurial Accountant truly helps, as your bookkeeper should not just be a “bean counter”, but most importantly, should play the role of a Partner, someone who truly helps you succeed by having good business sense.
8. You have outgrown your Bookkeeper.
Honestly, a lot of people these days can help with easy bookkeeping of receipts and expenses, even without an Accounting degree, as most programs are very user friendly (QuickBooks, Xero, etc.) and believe it or not, YouTube can virtually teach you everything. But there comes a level where you need more than an average bookkeeper for your Business. You need someone who can translate things in user-friendly spreadsheets, have experience working with Banks and Investors to help you raise capital, help you plan for taxes better, etc. which requires more CFO services. It might be time to ask yourself if your Accountant can help you grow…
9. Your Accountant agrees with everything you say.
That’s usually a bad sign. A good Accountant is supposed to challenge you, show you why you should do certain things differently, and clearly explain why. Plus, you don’t want to get in trouble either. Your Accountant should raise a red flag if he sees something that could potentially put you in danger. Therefore, if all you have is a “yes-man”, you are probably not getting proper value.
10. Your Accountant is not approachable.
Does your Accountant always make you feel like you’re asking stupid questions? Do you feel belittled every time you meet? That’s a major issue. If you don’t feel like you can come to your expert for advice and just help in general, you will probably not ask the right questions to move your Business in the right direction. Your Accountant should be approachable, and be very willing to teach you what he knows so that your books make perfect sense to you. Your Accountant should… you guessed it! Simplify Your Numbers!