Accountants are like doctors, often we stick with them because well, they’ve been your doctor for years and it’s just too hard to explain everything to someone new!

This is especially true if you’re running a business.  We’ve seen too many good people having been burnt by their previous accountant simply not being across what they should have been, and filtering information back to clients when it’s too late.  Sadly, this is often because they’re not aware themselves until it’s too late.

Just like a doctor, it’s important to have an open honest relationship with your accountant.  If you feel you can’t be brutally honest, you should ask yourself why?.  Is it because of them, is it because of you, or is it both?

Nobody needs a doctor who is unable to tell their patients exactly how it is.  If something is not right, you need to know about it yesterday.  Your accountant should be no different.  They too should be able to give you the honest facts in relation to your business, whether they be good, bad or ugly.

So, what does make a good accountant?

Your accountant should take the time to understand you and your business and they should be able to work with you to help you achieve your goals and maximise the value you receive from your business.

Many accountants are stuck as compliance oriented ‘box-tickers’, which is fine if this is what your business needs, but please don’t choose a ‘box-ticker’ if what you really want is a business confidant or help with increased visibility, business strategy, achieving efficiencies within your business, or improving profits.  Not all accountants are the same and it’s important to find one who’s aligned with your business and able to assist you in achieving your goals.  After all, two heads are better than one, three heads are better than two, and so on.

There are numerous reasons why people look to change accountants, including:

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Your phone calls aren’t getting returned.
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Unable to access good advice or talk to someone when you need.
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Accountants being unable or unwilling to spend the time getting to really understand your business.
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Not able to access the right information when they need.
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Your current accountant just doesn’t see you or your business as ‘important’ – we see this a lot with clients coming from the Big 4.
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Accountants not keeping up with today’s cloud accounting and technology recommendations resulting in your business unknowingly getting left behind.
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Surprises when it comes to tax payable and other nasties.
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Sometimes a business can outgrow an accountant and what they’re able to offer.
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Price sometimes is a factor, especially if the value ratio is just not there.

Regardless of the reason, you may find yourself in a position where it’s worthwhile asking if your accountant is the right one for you.  A useful tool for decision-making is to understand the cost involved with ‘doing nothing’.  At a general level, people can find change daunting or difficult and this tends to become a reason for inaction.  This is concerning, because often business owners won’t fully understand the costs associated with ‘inaction’ (this is called mis-opportunity cost!) and will blissfully continue as they were, accepting that things could be better but not fully understanding the real costs associated with inaction.

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