A small business bond - your accountant and you!
As small business accountants based in Sydney, we were recently approached by a new customer who wanted us to take care of the accounting side of his business as he had been unhappy with his previous accountant.
Whilst the relationship with his old accountant was relatively stable, it soon became apparent to us as to why the small business operator had been frustrated enough to seek a better relationship with a new accountant. His previous accountant, whilst not actually doing anything wrong, had placed too much reliance on the client to effectively assist with the preparation of the accounts. In my view it seemed quite clear that the accountant in question did not have a strong enough understanding of the clients actual business and the field it was in to be able to complete the business accounts without forcing the business owner to invest his precious time in sorting and classifying expenses.
Any accountant worth their fees should be able to do this for their customers. Perhaps the accountant was just trying to save their client some money in fees, however this was never communicated to the client, therefore we could only assume that the accountant either did not know the industry well enough to complete the accounts or did not have the time. It was also quite concerning that the advice being dispensed to this client was at the same rather basic level.
As a small business operator it is imperative that you seek out a trusted source of advice and ensure that your accountant knows your industry and also knows your requirements. Perhaps you do want to do some of the background work to save a few dollars, but without a frank and thorough discussion the relationship between accountant and client will never fully benefit either party.