For any business, a good relationship with your accountant or accountancy firm (or ‘Team’ as we prefer to call it) is vital to your businesses success.
As your business grows and matures, you may find that the accountancy firm you used to start with may not offer quite the range of services your business now needs, or that your accountant is not providing the best advice or service for your needs.
Here are the 6 top indicators that it is time to consider a move:
1. They offer ‘accounting’ only
It is highly likely that you sought out an accountant because you needed, well… accountancy! Year end accounts and tax returns are one of the main reasons most business seek out an accountant. However as your business grows (or even at the start if budget allows) you will want further support in terms of services like payroll, book-keeping and up to date ‘Management’ reporting. Many accountants will often sub contract or outsource these services, if they offer them at all.
In our experience, it is a better all-round service if the accountancy team provides these themselves, to really understand the business as a whole and maximise your tax savings.
2. They are difficult to get hold of
You may have found they have been difficult to actually speak to, or even get an email reply. This is something we regularly hear from potential clients who are looking to move accountants.
The reasons for this can vary, but suffice to say, being able to speak to someone when you need to is a key part of the accounting team relationship.
3. They aren’t pro-active in their communication with you
Reminders, regular check ins and updates are key to forming and maintaining a good relationship with your accounting team. In some circumstances, seeing your accountant once a year might be all you need, but to get the most from the relationship more regular contact would be better.
From talking to clients often looking to move from their accounting firm, normally we hear that they feel their current solution does not offer detailed and regular enough communication to really feel they were being kept up to date.
4. They use a lot of jargon and don’t explain things clearly
In the accountancy and business world there are a lot of technical terms and abbreviation. We recently wrote an internal document for when we recruit new people and the ‘glossary of terms’ went on for 4 pages! Being able to understand what your accountancy team is telling you, by use of plain English, getting to the point that actually matters to you, why it’s important and what you need to do about it is a key part of the service offering.
We have met a lot of new clients over the years that have had ‘surprise’ tax bills or similar – this is usually because they did not receive enough clear communication from their accountant, and furthermore did not have the relationship to call or ask.
5. They aren’t very approachable
We often speak with potential new clients and stress the need for a good ‘fit’ between accountancy team and client.
When letting another person deal with financial matters you really need to trust, ‘know’ and like them. Like any other key relationship, if you don’t have these things they probably are not right for you.
As an example, would you use a personal trainer you didn’t like? It’s probably a comparable relationship in terms of trust and the need for very personal interaction (except accountants generally don’t have those abs…).
6. You don’t value what they do
This is an interesting one, in that you may feel what you are paying is ‘not worth what you are getting’. In our experience, it is probably a case of not getting what you value, rather than being that they are too expensive. In fact, if anything, they could be too cheap! As a profession, us accountants are generally pretty bad at telling clients exactly what we do that benefits you.
To use an example, we all do not need that iPhone, or Starbucks coffee, or Ralph Lauren t-shirt, there are plenty of ‘cheaper’ alternatives, but we buy these because we appreciate the value we are getting from it.
If you feel disconnected from this value, it may be time to look around.
You may find you will actually be happier paying more in many instances, but for the services you really value – the ones that most make a difference to you (and for most business owners, this often comes in the form of peace of mind and saving you time, the most valuable saving of all!).
This sounds like me so what do I do?
If some of the above ring true, it is worth looking around and seeing what is out there. Accountants are in plentiful supply, but finding the right match for you and your business is key.
Here at Heelan Associates, we build our service around what you value. Our services are highly customisable (and varied), with a fixed price based on what you value.
The majority of our clients take up services which keep us in contact with them far more often than just once a year or the odd email/letter reminder, so they can make the most out of the relationship.
We offer many business and accountancy services, and do not outsource work critical to your business like payroll, book-keeping, ‘CIS’ and the like.
We also speak to you in plain English, and work collaboratively so that we ensure we know what most matters to you. With a growing team, eager to please, you can always be sure of being able to get hold of us.
We also like to think we are down to earth, approachable, and most importantly enthusiastic about you and your business.
If this sounds like the kind of thing you are after, please give our team a call on 02392 240040