#1: Fees

If your accountant charges a percentage of what you earn, then this is a clear indicator that you’re being overcharged. Contingency-based fees are even prohibited by some professional bodies so if you are in this situation, it’s time to start looking around. Blue Star Accountants charged fixed monthly fees at competitive rates, meaning there are no unpleasant surprises.

#2: Professional body

Unlike some other professions, there is no protection on the term ‘accountant’. Solicitors, doctors, dentists and now architects are all protected by law, meaning that only people who have passed professional exams, hold professional indemnity insurance and are regulated by their professional body can use those protected terms. While the term ‘auditor’ is protected, many so-called accountants don’t engage in audit work, meaning they are not subject to regulation by a professional body.

So what does this mean for you as a client? In summary, it means that if you engage a qualified accountant who is regulated by a prescribed accounting institute, you can be more confident that the work is carried out to prescribed professional standards. Some clients may draw little comfort by this in isolation but it also means that you have much more recourse in the event of a dispute or grievance with your accountant.

In addition, by using a qualified accountant you also draw comfort from the fact that they are required to hold professional indemnity insurance, meaning that you have much more recourse in the event that you are ever at a financial loss as a result of poor workmanship.

Blue Star Accountants are qualified accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers, and as a result we provide all our client with updates of best practices in tax planning etc.

Five reasons to change your accountant 

#3: Inadequate tax planning

Are you hearing about the latest tax planning updates – after you’ve set your plans? This indicates that you are not on your accountants list of priorities. As Qualified Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers we have the skinny on all tax compliance and tax planning updates, and we make sure that our clients use best practice tax compliance and tax planning procedures to maximise their take home pay and reduce their effective rate of tax.

#4. Responsiveness

Is your accountant slow to return emails or hard to reach on the phone? Do you get the feeling that you’re almost bothering him? Your instincts are probably right. With social media and smart phones being so ubiquitous in our everyday lives, it’s just not an acceptable excuse to say: “I never got your email.” It’s never been easier to engage with clients, which is why we always respond to clients within 24 hours and in most cases the same day.

#5: Lack of technology and technical resources

Many accountants are still running their business on old and badly written software programmes, or in some cases none at all. We leverage technology as much as possible, and not just for the sake of it. We’ve streamlined the accounting process to make the user experience as frictionless as possible.

As a general rule, take a look at your accountant’s website, this will give you an insight into the how the practice is managed. Does it look like a boring old template from 2005 with a news feed from a random business directory? If so, then chances are they’re not getting alert notifications from Revenue on latest tax updates, and they’re probably sitting back waiting for their first pension cheque to arrive, which itself indicates a complacent approach to clients.

When Alex Ferguson contemplated a transfer signing, he applied the caveat that “When there is doubt, there is no doubt” and when it comes to you financial and tax affairs there’s no room for half measures.