Many small business owners rely heavily on their accountants to help them manage their books, pay their taxes and keep their operations running smoothly.
Over time, you may have developed a fairly close and personal relationship with your accountant — but don’t let that cloud your judgment when there are signs of trouble. If your accountant isn’t doing their job properly, you could suffer for it in the long run.
What are the signs of trouble with an accountant?
You may have nothing more than a nagging suspicion that something is untoward with your accountant, and that may make you hesitant to sever ties. However, act immediately whenever:
- Your accountant doesn’t seem experienced with your industry. That could leave you paying hefty tax bills and missing important deductions.
- You aren’t getting clear financial statements. Your accountant should be able to explain your financial statements to you. If they provide convoluted statements that you can’t follow, it’s time for a change.
- You aren’t getting any financial statements at all. If your accountant keeps making promises but you aren’t getting the paperwork delivered, that’s a sure sign that something is very wrong with their practice. Cut and run right away.
- Your accountant seems unfamiliar with changes in the laws. Tax laws change all the time, and it’s your accountant’s job to follow those changes. If they’re not getting continuing education on a regular basis, they’re doing you a disservice.
- You can’t get a return phone call. A minor delay returning your calls (or emails) is nothing to worry about — especially during their busy season. If you routinely feel like it’s a chore to track your accountant down and get straight answers, there may be a reason they are avoiding you.
All of these signs could point to financial malfeasance or professional malpractice on your accountant’s part. If you’re suspicious and believe you’ve suffered losses as a result of your accountant’s mistakes, it’s wise to look deeper. An attorney with experience in professional malpractice can help you learn more.