Although it is not compulsory to have an accountant at your beck and call, a lot of people choose to hire the services of an accountant in order to deal with their tax affairs and business accounting. In an ideal world, the relationship is a positive one, but like any relationship, you may find that after a while you are not happy with the service your accountant is providing.
Not Getting the Right Support or Advice
The whole point of hiring an accountant is that they are there to provide you with a certain level of support. You want to know that your accountant is always happy to offer advice or support if needed, and if they don’t do this, or do it so grudgingly that you wished you hadn’t asked, it is time for a change.
To a certain degree fees charged are highly dependent on the level of service you are receiving and the location of your accountant. For example, a tax specialist with a smart office on CanaryWharf would charge a whole lot more than a small town accountant used to dealing with small businesses and sole traders. But the point being made here is that if you feel you are being ripped off, you probably are. So check out what other accountants in the same area charge to help you make a final decision.
Lack of Contact
It would be unreasonable to expect your accountant to be at your beck and call all hours of the day and night, but you should be able to contact them during working hours at the very least. If you find it impossible to reach your accountant and they seem to be avoiding your calls, it isn’t a good sign.
Occasionally deadlines are missed for one reason or another—it’s not good, but if something cataclysmic happened, they might have a valid excuse. However, if your accountant misses an important filing deadline, despite the fact you gave them all the information they needed in plenty of time, or there is no reasonable explanation for it to have happened and you are facing a late fling penalty, you have a right to be annoyed.
Mistakes happen—we are all human after all—but if your accountant does nothing to try and rectify their mistake, you need to be asking what exactly they are doing to justify the fee they are charging you.
A good accountant is genuinely interested in you and your business. They take the time to get to know you and how your business operates in order to be able to offer the right advice. An accountant who shows zero interest isn’t likely to be of much assistance in the long run.
You Don’t Understand
If your accountant gives you advice and you don’t understand, ask them to explain it so that it makes more sense. They should be willing to explain things further, and if they are not, you are not getting the level of service you deserve.
Should any of these complaints sound horribly familiar, consider ditching your current accountant in favour of one who listens, is interested, doesn’t overcharge and offers you a better level of service.
About the author:
Doug Barden is a managing partner in accountancy firm Barlow Andrews. He knows how important a good accountant is for a business and advises those who are unhappy to contact him for more information via his firm’s website http://www.barlow-andrews.co.uk.