Finances can make or break any business, which is why it’s so important to have a quality outsourced partner in your accountant.

How do you know you when you’ve struck gold with your accountant though?

Well, if you’ve experienced any of the following you probably don’t have that quality partner in your accountant, and you might want to think about making a move…

You don’t have confidence in the information in your accounts

You know what’s happened in your business, and have a gut feel for what your accounts should reflect – but they don’t look how you think they should.

This inevitably happens, accounts are drawn up to adhere to some strict rules – there are things they need to include, things they shouldn’t include and ways they need to look.

It’s typical for a set of accounts to have end of year adjustments in them.  However, if these adjustments can’t be explained to you in a way that gives you confidence in the information in them, that’s a problem.

No one takes the time to explain your accounts to you / they explain them with jargon and make it very complicated to understand

Accounting, double-entry bookkeeping and those rules accounts must adhere to can be complicated.  This is why you have a professional to draw them up for you.

As a director or a limited company, or a sole trader who’s accounts are being used to create your self assessment, you’re legally responsible for the information included in your accounts and tax returns – even if you have an accountant preparing them for you.

This means, in order to sign them off for the relevant governing bodies – Companies House and HMRC – you need to know how they’ve been compiled and calculated.

If you never have your accounts explained to you, or they’re explained by accountant using terminology that sounds like it’s almost a different language, that’s a problem.

You’re not confident in your tax return

Very much linked to the previous two points; if you’re not comfortable and confident in how your accountant is drawing up your tax return, that’s a problem.

Accountants should be professionally qualified, and through that qualification they should keep on top of the rules, laws and regulations to not only ensure you’re compliant with you tax returns, but also so you’re not paying more tax than is necessary.

You don’t have any contact with your accountant from year to year

You only hear from your accountant once a year, when they request your accounting information.

In this day and age, especially with what the business world has been experiencing in recent years, you should have a flow of communication from your accountant.

Now you might not need or want to speak to your accountant regularly, but at some point it’s useful to communicate with your accountant.

At the very least, they should be keeping you apprised with things you might need to know in order to run your business – especially through the tough times like the pandemic.  Did your accountant keep you informed about grants and schemes available?

You provide your accounting information in record time, but it’s left to the wire to prepare the accounts and get them filed, or worse you’ve received a fine

2020 did see accountants push more than ever before, with the release of some much additional governmental information and support for them to disseminate and help their clients with.

However, it’s important for peace of mind, compliance reasons and cash flow purposes that your accounts and tax information is put together in a timely manner.

You should never receive a fine because a deadline has been missed by your accountant!  If you ever have, that’s a big problem!

The whole process fills you with dread because it’s painful

A lot of people aren’t fans of accounts as a whole; whether its scary because you’re unsure, you’re not a numbers person or you find it tedious, this isn’t an excuse for a painful annual accounts process filling you with dread.

You should work as smoothly as possible with your accountant, and there are a lot of modern ways or working and solutions that support that.

If you’re battling with an accounting system that’s cumbersome to use (here’s looking at you Sage), wading through mountains of paperwork, or dealing with continuous requests for information you’ve already provided to your accountant you’re not working in a smart way!

In this modern technological age, the accounting process should be connected and relatively paperless, with systems like Xero and Dext around to support this.

Dext actually puts a picture of the supplier invoice into Xero so your accountant can view the original thing if they need to.  And there’s no need for backups of your accounting software to have different information in than the annual accounts!  If you’re working in an old fashioned, cumbersome way – that’s a problem!

Your accountant has no idea what your business is or how it works

Every business has its own nuances and ways of working.  Your accountant should know enough about your business to support you in the best ways of working.  And they should never instruct you to work in a way that’s painful, cumbersome or difficult for you, just because it makes their life easier when they do your year end accounts!

Yes accounts are drawn up to reflect a specific set of rules, which often means adjustments from the day to day operations – its your accountant’s job to make these adjustments though.

If your accountant is currently working in a way that makes life difficult for you, that’s a problem!  And if your accountant can’t help you work in a better way, that’s a bigger problem…

You don’t like talking to your accountant

As previously stated, you need to have a quality business partnership with your accountant – they’re your trusted advisor and often pivotal when it comes to things that naturally pop up throughout the year.

If you don’t like talking to your accountant when these things crop up, fear getting a huge invoice from your accountant for every telephone call you make to them or just clash on a personality level, that’s a problem!

This list is borne out of problems Elite Accounting have supported clients to resolve.  If you’ve experienced any of these problems yourself, it’s time to shop around so you can resolve them as well.  And, remember, we’re here to help.