Is your accountant really working for you? I mean, more specifically, is he working for your best interest? A lot of you may respond to that question with hesitation and I don’t blame you. It’s difficult to determine and if you’re not a CPA yourself, it’s almost impossible to realize. So, how do you know? What are these CPA red flags?
A Passive Stance
Another reason why clients or businesses leave their accountants is because of the latter’s non-proactive nature. So how do you tell if an accountant is not proactive? Are you constantly almost begging for your accountant to do his or her job? Does it seem like a challenge getting your accountant to do what you asked for? Is he or she appearing to be avoiding your calls? If you answered yes to those questions, then your accountant is definitely holding a passive stance. Instead, good accountants are reaching out to their clients constantly and proactively. They meet with their clients throughout the year too. Good accountants are also good advisors and consultants. They don’t shy away from helping their clients with issues beyond just taxes.
If you’re struggling to find and communicate with your accountant, then that’s definitely a red flag. In these situations, remember that you are the client and he is the service provider. That means when you need service, he needs to respond and he needs to respond right away. Every good service provider knows this, and every good accountant returns calls, replies to emails, and answers texts. Ideally, a good accountant will be available for their clients, even on nights and weekends too.
Charging You More Than They Should
We all know that CPAs are business people and trying to earn a living by grow their practices comes naturally. If there are ways to add income, why not? Right? This is, of course, not good news for you. So what to do to prevent this from happening? Note that your accountant may provide a financial plan, but if they also charge for and manage your investments, they must be registered with FINRA – the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. You can run a broker check on any licensed investment professional on the FINRA website to verify yourself.
Maybe He’s Just Not That Into You
By this we mean maybe he’s really not on your side and this is one of the CPA red flag you should definitely recognize. Some accountants seem like they’re extensions of the IRS when they should be working for your best interest. Clients are in need of accountants who are willing to weigh the risks and rewards of decisions that may or may not result in a tax liability. They need someone on their side. The CPA should be making recommendations and also making you fully aware of your risks. If he truly values you as a client, he will be a partner willing to take reasonable risks with you. If not, then you should definitely look for a new CPA.