Research reported in the Australian Financial Review found that stereotypes haven’t changed and most small-to-medium business owners trust their accountants.
In fact, 69 percent of small-medium business owners found their accountant the most trustworthy individual, compared to a financial advisor, lawyer, friends and family, or even business partner.
Despite this information, only 26 percent of participants in the survey thought that not receiving professional advice could cause business failure. Even if businesspeople received advice, they were still significantly more likely to trust their gut than a trained professional.
With such a gap between people listening to advice and actually acting upon it, it begs the question what causes the hesitancy.
There may be a few hints here and there that stay in the back of the mind; inkling something isn’t right.
If you’re in that position, not sure if your accountant is the one for you, we have some tell-tale signs that may confirm your view.
Do they understand your industry?
The first tip that the government’s site, Money Smart, suggests if knowing their area of specialisation. Or, do they know yours?
Research the services they offer and whether they can complete almost everything you are looking for. It would be advisable to seek the services of an accountant who can cover both your superannuation and tax returns, rather than having to employ two different people.
Also, consider what makes your financial circumstances different and if they are familiar and experienced in the area. If you own a small business, shortlist the companies that are most experienced and reputable for small businesses.
An accountant should also have a broad understanding of what you do and where you work. If, after a few years, they are still clarifying your financial situation and your industry, then they are evidently having troubles. Either ensure you both make an effort to work on this problem or seek out an accountant who has worked specifically in your area.
Your calls aren’t left unanswered.
The key to a positive relationship with your accountant is them being responsive. If you are calling to ask a question or emailing a query, then your accountant should always be getting back to you promptly.
During busy periods, such as the end of the financial year, things do become hectic. However, outside of those times, they shouldn’t leave you unanswered for days – or even weeks.
Returning your calls and emails should be their priority.
Not only is their lack of communication bad for the business, especially for urgent tasks, but it is also often indicative of how they value you. You are their client and so deserve the highest quality customer service, without the wait.
The financial jargon makes no sense.
Everyone is an expert in their field. When talking to others in the industry, they can use as many complicated terms and theories as they wish.
But, when talking to the ‘ordinary’ person, that is someone outside of their work, then the language should reflect that.
According to Chan-Naylor, wealth advisory and accounting group, an issue that individuals face time and time again is not understanding what their accountant is talking about.
While you should be able to trust what they are saying to you is providing the best outcome, it is your money, and you deserve to understand what’s happening. It isn’t your responsibility to become a financial expert; experts should be able to condense their knowledge to something you understand.
Are they advising you?
Even though stereotypes may tell a different story; accountants aren’t just for your tax return.
At MC Chartered Accountants, we help small businesses and individuals with financial issues from taxation to superannuation, business acquisitions, valuations and disposals, accounting systems and procedures, business management, auditing, litigation support, and MYOB.
Advice is part of their job; not just tax returns.
An excellent accountant should go above and beyond to provide you with comprehensive advice on all areas applying to you, even if you didn’t know they could.
Do you trust them?
Repeat this question in your head.
Do you trust your accountant?
This is the fundamental point. They are a hired professional who is intended to be completely across all of your financials, which is sometimes deeply personal.
Since this is the case, you should be able to trust them with your everyday decisions to the life-changing financial ones.
As we said at the beginning, accountants are still considered one of the most trustworthy professions, but people will still ignore their advice.
Do you trust your account enough if you are ignoring their advice?
What we do at MC Chartered Accountants.
At MC Chartered Accounts, we pride ourselves on having a long and diverse experience working with small to medium businesses and individuals. As tax accountants in Adelaide, we have a specific emphasis on primary production, tourism and hospitality.
When approached by a new client, we identify the staff member in the office who has the skills and qualifications necessary to support their needs best.
Our close relationship with clients, means they are always put first. Their calls are returned as soon as possible, and our goal is to ensure they understand what their financial statements mean.
We exceed expectations as an accounting firm to provide advice on growing your business and developing your wealth.
Finally, when one of our clients succeed – we succeed. That’s why we build from the first meeting a strong relationship that is founded on trust.
If you are thinking of making the switch or even want to know a bit more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!