Just like any ‘significant other’ relationship, you’ll naturally have ups and downs with your accountant and/or bookkeeper. Sometimes they will feel like the most important people in your world… and other times, why the hell can’t you just put down the toilet seat for once in your life?!?!
Here are 6 signs you need to break up with your accountant or bookkeeper (or ‘AB’ for short), and find someone who better understands (and can give you) what you need:
1/ Getting ghosted. At the start, they were all over you! But now, you pretty much speak to AB once a year. But the days of just catching up for tax time are long gone. Your AB should be in regular, proactive contact – even more so for a bookkeeper who is managing the day to day numbers.
Nothing kills a relationship like poor communication. Not being proactive is one thing; if they aren’t responsive, you know it’s time to find someone who is thinking about your business needs much more frequently. You shouldn’t have to chase them to get your BAS done.
2/ Not making (tax) plans. If your AB isn’t talking to you each year about getting some tax planning weather with them or another qualified party, I’d seriously question whether they are invested in setting you up for a fantastic financial future, or are just going through the motions.
3/ Growing apart. If your business is heading in one direction – you’re focused on growth, or looking to streamline your operations by making better use of technology, for example – and your AB isn’t prepared (or able) to support you, then it’s time to move on. There’s nothing worse than a technophobe AB forcing you to use a specific accounting product just because they are stuck in the mud and can’t evolve. Or, an AB has the blinkers on and doesn’t have the vision and capabilities to match your growth aspirations. AB’s should recognise that your business has specific and evolving needs, and be willing to accommodate different solutions that best suit you. You are the customer after all!
4/ The thrill is gone. Has your AB simply become too comfortable in the relationship, and is just going through the motions? Is that initial spark just a faded memory, and they have stopped trying to keep things interesting with new ideas and initiatives that will save (or make) you time and money? There’s a time and place for tracksuit pants – but sometimes you’ve got to make more of an effort.
5/ Doesn’t make an effort with your friends. One relationship can’t meet all of your needs. Most business owners will have other key people – such as a business coach, financial planner, mortgage broker or solicitor – that they rely on for expert advice to get the best overall outcome. If your AB is reluctant to work with the other important people in your business and financial life, it’s time to find someone who will focus on your needs ahead of their ego.
6/ Won’t have a menage a trois! Some business owners like the simplicity of seeing one other significant other – eg they use an accountant who has an in-house bookkeeping function. But I say you should bring another into the relationship! (It is the naughties after all!) Keeping your accounting and bookkeeping functions separate gives you another set of eyes to identify problems and opportunities. Three heads are better than two.
These are just some of the red flags that could help you know when it’s time exit a complicated financial relationship and find a lifelong partner that will guide your business to bigger and better things. You deserve better!