Whether you are a sole trader working from home whilst juggling the kids, own a cafe, or have just purchased a franchise, owning and operating a small business can be challenging, even at the best of times. When there are our downturns in the economy, or lending institutions tighten credit, a small business owner needs all the help they can get.
One source of advice should be their accountant; unfortunately too many businesses end up with tax agents that are only focused on preparing and lodging tax returns.
Q. I am becoming concerned about the lack of advice I get from my accountant, and also believe I am not getting value for money. I would like to change but am worried about how to do it and what difficulties will be caused as a result of changing accountants.
A. Yours is not an isolated situation. The most common complaints about accountants are:
- I can never get them when I need to,
- They don’t return phone calls, and
- They never recommend how to improve things.
Unfortunately for many small business owners, they have taken on a tax agent rather than an accountant. Tax agents are always looking back, processing information necessary to complete a tax return. Accountants on the other hand, in addition to the numbers crunching, are also looking forward and assisting their clients manage the tax and financial side of their business.
The concern you have about how to change accountants is a common one. Too often people believe that their tax and financial matters are so complicated that it would be hard for another accountant to take over their affairs. Nothing could be further than the truth.
As part of taking on a new client an accountant would receive the most recent tax returns and financial statements prepared by the previous accountant. After reviewing the tax returns and the financial statements, and asking questions about matters that may be unique or peculiar to the business, the new accountant should know enough about the business to look after it and the business owners.
The first step in changing accountants is to find a new one that will provide the level of service and advice you require. Once you have picked the new accountant you should contact your old accountant and advise them that you are leaving.
You should check to see if there is any work that they have done that has not yet been billed. If they present you with a bill that seems too high you should request a detailed explanation of all the work done and it’s cost.
Your new accountant is required to write to the old accountant advising them that they have been requested to take over your work, and ask if there is any ethical or professional reason why they shouldn’t do so. In that letter they will also request all information and documents relating to your business to be forwarded to them.
Changing accountants is relatively painless and the first step in the process is to look for a new one.
At The Garis Group we value every client relationship and understand that an investment in Professional Accounting Services is an investment in your future.
Contact us today on 02 4969 4699 or book an appointment online, and take your first step towards creating your beautiful financial future.