5 Signs You Need To Find a New Accountant

14 August 16
Cross Border Tax

You should hold your accountant to a relatively high standard as it can get quite expensive to engage a competent CPA. In most cases however that would be money well spent as your tax, accounting and financial well-being is extremely important. In cases where you’re not sure you’re getting the service you deserve here are 5 Signs You Need To Find a New Accountant:

#1 – You’re Always Filing Close to the Deadline

Considering our tight tax deadlines it can be challenging to file all our client’s tax returns well before the deadline. However, traditionally some accountants work terribly close to deadlines regardless of when you drop off your tax information. If you can get your tax information to your accountant well before the deadline expect that he/she can have everything filed for you in a timely manner.

#2 – Their Fees are Low

This may seem counter intuitive, however accountants that offer low fees are often doing so because it’s the only way they can compete within the marketplace. Paying below market rates for accounting and tax work may be attractive, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. You won’t necessarily notice a difference in result between tax returns prepared by different accountants, but if CRA decides to review your tax returns you’ll want to ensure someone competent prepared the materials. If not, errors made and subsequent changes by CRA can lead to more tax payable and potential penalties.

#3 – It’s Hard to Reach Them

It can be challenging to manage a large group of clients, but if your accountant is not getting back to you in a timely manner it may be time to make a change. Not only are you paying for a specific technical tax or accounting service you are also paying for timely service. You likely cannot expect immediate service (although many of us do hit this high watermark often), however you should expect a response to your inquiries in a reasonable time frame. If you’re accountant is not attentive to your needs and questions it may be time to switch.

#4 – They Can’t Seem to Answer All Your Questions

Being a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) can be challenging considering all the tax and accounting competencies that need to be maintained . That being said, a big part of the reason why you hire and accountant is to have your tax and accounting questions answered. This doesn’t mean however that your accountant should be able to answer every question you have immediately as it’s asked. But you should expect him/her to commit to getting back to you as soon as possible with a resolution to your inquiry. We don’t always have the answer to your questions immediately but we should all be able to find the answers with a little resourceful digging and research.

#5 – They Don’t Live up to Their Promises

You can only really judge an individual by their actions. If your accountant constantly promises outcomes and often comes up short it may be time to make a change. Being told that something will be ready on Monday, and having to ask him/her if what they promised is in fact ready on Friday can be extremely frustrating. You have to expect that if a professional is going to commit to a completion deadline they can meet that specific deadline. It’s not too much to ask to keep them to their word. If they consistently fall short it may be time to find someone that can meet their own self imposed deadlines.

You pay good money to engage an accountant and your expectations should be met. Although you should also be reasonable in your expectations do not let your accountant maintain below average service. It may be difficult to make the move, but you’ll be much better off working with an accountant that aims to serve your accounting and financial needs to the best of his/her abilities.

Phil Hogan, CPA, CA, CPA (Colorado)

Phil Hogan is a Canadian and US CPA working with clients throughout Canada and the US. Phil advises on cross border tax and financial planning matters. Phil can be reached at phil@beaconhillwm.ca or via telephone at 250-661-9417. You can also read more about Phil at www.Beaconhillwm.ca/team/about-phil/

This commentary reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. partner providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. or performance returns of any Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing in this commentary constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Beacon Hill Wealth Management Ltd. manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any discussion about taxation is for educational purposes only and should not be viewed as professional advice. Consult your tax professional for tax advice on your particular situation.

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