Below are some of the most common complaints that new clients who come to us have about their existing accountants. If any of these sound familiar… you should think about changing your accountant!
Are they unclear or defensive when asked about their qualifications?
Check with your accountant or bookkeeper to make sure he/she is properly qualified to do the job that you require of them. Having a qualified accountant or bookkeeper will ensure that you can expect a good level of competence and that you are on the right side of the rules and regulations.
How experienced are they?
A good accountant will be able to make the most of exemptions and allowances available to small businesses and the self-employed to make sure you don’t pay more tax than you need to. Achieving legitimate tax deductions from the use of a home office or your personal car for business mileage takes a bit of effort. So make sure that your accountant is prepared to spend enough time on your job to calculate these properly.
They encourage bad practice…
Using your legitimate tax allowances is something that all small businesses and the self-employed should seek to do. But some accountants offer schemes to evade tax through the use of offshore companies or trusts. If your accountant suggests schemes and options which sound too good to be true – then beware. HMRC have launched a wave of campaigns to shut down schemes which evade tax, and the penalties are severe.
They miss deadlines
Whether it’s an internal deadline which you have agreed with your accountant or an HRMC deadline, a missed deadline is disruptive. And missing deadlines can result in fines and hinder business.
They make careless mistakes
If you have an accountant who lacks attention to detail then this is a huge problem. Adding or omitting just one zero or a simply misplacing a dot can be the difference between you owing a lot of money or you looking like you are hiding something. If you are working with an accountant who makes mistakes then look elsewhere. Small business owners do not have time to check and double check their accountants work, this is why you hired one after all.
They don’t stay up to date
Accountants who are abreast of what’s going on are best placed to give you accurate advice. Nowadays everything that accountants need to do their job well comes via email, websites, online newsletters and even webinars. Conventional methods do still exist but an accountant who is wary of using the web or not using it proficiently may not be providing you the best solutions when it comes to accounting software for your business.
They are indiscreet
As much as an accountant might like to inform you who their other clients to prove how good they are, they must not. Accountants are driven by five ethical principles and breaching client confidentiality in turn breaches one of the principles. If your accountant is constantly giving away little snippets of information imagine what they might be giving away about you and/or what other ethics they are breaching.
If you are concerned or recognise any of the above then don’t be afraid to change your accountant! Feel free to message us – or call Richard on 07970 298253 for a chat about how we can help you escape a bad accountant..