3 Things You Should Never Ask Your Accountant
Once you’ve found a good accountant, the last thing you want to do is compromise that relationship by asking them to do unnecessary, dubious―or worse―machine capable work. Here are the top three things not to ask.
1. Never ask your accountant to do anything that can be automated.
Invest in technology and automated systems that will make your life and your accountant’s job more efficient. For example, don’t send paper time cards by mail every week when time tracking systems like TSheets can automatically track hours and PTO. Same goes for expense tracking. Why not use an app like Expensify to eliminate paper receipts? Modern technology tools are designed to minimise or eliminate the time it takes to perform manually intensive tasks.
Asking your accountant to spend time and energy manually completing tasks that could be finished in a matter of seconds (as in the case of automatic bank transaction data feeds into your accounting system) is a waste of their expertise and your money.
2. Never ask your accountant to tell you how your business is performing.
Why? Because you should already know! Some business owners abdicate their role of running the business instead of clearly delegating specific tasks. The key difference here is responsibility.
When asked, “Where is your business, financially?” some entrepreneurs say, “Oh, my accountant handles that,” or “My bookkeeper handles that.” And that is a real issue. If you want your business to be successful, take the time to know your finances and implement systems to ensure this information is always at hand.
3. Never ask your accountant to bend the rules.
Not even “just this once.” Never compromise the relationship by asking your accountant to do something unethical or unlawful. Always maintain your integrity. If you don’t, it will eventually come back to haunt you, and you’ll pay a heavy price for that act in the future, even if you don’t get caught.
3 Things You Absolutely Should Ask Your Accountant
1. What experience do you have in my industry?
More accountants are niching into specialized vertical markets, like accounting for doctors or construction companies. Focusing on one group leads to an enriched knowledge of that industry and its systems.
Some accountants will become pros at using a core accounting engine or industry software solution, so they can recommend and implement these tools and technologies. Before you make any big technology investments, be sure the solution your accountant suggests makes sense for your needs.
2. How often can we meet?
3. What would you do if you owned this business?
When it comes to your finances, don’t be afraid to ask what he or she would do in your shoes. Assuming they’ve been in the field for a while, your accountant may have experience from hundreds of small-business clients over many years. Let their hindsight be your 20/20.
Another benefit: Accountants can be fantastic connectors. Though they work with numbers and systems, they know people too. Ask, “Who else should I have on my team?” Always do your own research and rigorously interview any recommendations they give you.
Your accountant is so much more than a math wiz. An accountant can be a mentor and a leader―someone who incites confidence. Find the right person, then make thoughtful requests of their time and experience. The partnership you’ll create will be well worth the hire.