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Common Problems With Accountants And How To Solve Them

Apr 9, 2008
Accountants can be infuriating. Sometimes it feels as if every job is twice as difficult and time consuming as it should be. Many companies' common problems include:

Can't get them to return a call?

Many people's definition of an accountant is someone who is always elusive and frequently too busy. What's important to remember is not to accept it. Chase your accountants up - don't feel that you are imposing. Just follow up often.

They want to charge for even the smallest piece of advice.

Even when you pay out a small fortune for your accounts and tax returns, many accountants can be quick to charge for even a one minute phone call.

Be clear that you will not pay for any spurious or unnecessary billing. Confront them about it and don't be talked down. As long are you are willing to be charged for any actual service or extensive advice/ guidance provided, you are doing nothing wrong.

Overcharging

If you feel your accountant overcharges, then talk to them about it, make it clear you have options and see if the rate is negotiable. If it isn't then shop around and don't be talked into signing up with the first accountant you speak to.

Alternatively, you can use a comparison site to make sure you are getting the best deal for the best possible price.

Personality Clashes

Sometimes even the most prompt accountant can rub you up the wrong way. Unfortunately this is the kind of problem that can't really be fixed.

To try and avoid this issue ensure you take advantage of the free no obligation meeting most accountants offer. It gives you an opportunity to check that you can get along whilst also allowing them to talk you through what they can do for you.

Location

The best accountant in the world can be rendered more or less useless by a change of location on either party's behalf.

However, don't assume that an accountant must be on your doorstep. The majority of the work can be done via email or telephone. Weekly meetings with accountants are a myth as far as small companies go and anyway, who would want that?

A range of 15 miles is a practical distance, accessible on a semi regular basis without too much hassle. Some business types (medical, solicitors, hotels etc) may require a more specialized accountant which means accepting further distances but you do get someone who knows your business inside an out.

They don't understand you business

Some accountants live in the dark ages, I'm sorry to day. In the ever evolving world of business, companies need an accountant who can understand their business model, ensuring that they get the best advice and help with the accounts management.

Make sure your accountant seems fluent in the business language you are speaking or find a specialist accountant in your field.

The most important thing to remember is that you pay them for a service. If they are not providing it then find someone that will! Simply typing 'accountant in...' into any search engine will allow you to find a selection of people in your area. If you have very specific needs it might be an idea to use a comparison site to do the leg work for you. So make sure any accountant you sign up for is thoroughly vetted first!
About the Author
Jim Haines works for Just Accountants, a UK website dedicated to helping businesses find suitable accountants for their needs. Visit http://www.justaccountants.co.uk for details.
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