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3 things business owners wish their accountant had done differently

Losing business can be easier to handle if it’s for reasons out of your control, but that won’t always be the case.

Either way, there’s a lot to be gained from trying to understand what you could have done to keep a client with you. Often it’s the small things that make a big difference. You may know what good or bad customer service look like, but the ‘final straw’ that makes customers change practices can be much harder to identify. 

Here, three business owners share honest insights into what they wish their accountants had done differently.

1. Responded more quickly – and with a kinder tone

Anna King, founder of content agency Scripsy, shares how her experience with her accountant changed over time: “I was with my previous accountant for around seven years, but I found that he became less and less responsive as time went on. I would send him a question – sometimes quite urgent – and would literally not hear anything for a week or longer. Not even a holding email. 

“And then when he did respond, he was never particularly helpful and usually quite patronising, like I should have known the answers myself. 

“I always gave him the benefit of the doubt as I thought maybe that was just his email style and he was busy with bigger clients. Admittedly, he was always more helpful when I did manage to get him on the phone but that just wasn’t very often! 

“But a couple of months ago, I was so stressed out trying to get an answer to a VAT query, and when I didn’t get a response from him for almost two weeks, I thought enough is enough, and I switched. 

“It was actually much easier than I thought, and my new accountant is much more understanding, responsive and patient, so I’m glad I finally did it!”

2. Been more organised and punctual

Entrepreneur Alina Cincan, who runs Inbox Translation, shares her pet peeves: “I run two businesses (one in the UK and one in Romania), and I have to say that finding good accountants is not an easy task. While I was lucky with the company I use for my UK business (they have been with me for almost eight years), I had to switch accountants for my Romanian business after just a couple of months.

“As a very organised and punctual person, I expect the same from my collaborators. But I felt the accounting practice I was using in Romania failed to do their job properly. 

“There were several things that did not go well during our collaboration: they made numerous mistakes in the balance sheets (I am a linguist, not an accountant, but I still spotted them), submitted the accounts late, and the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was when salaries were not paid on time and one of the employees asked me about it.

“What I wished they had done differently? Been more organised and paid more attention to deadlines and the actual work. Silver lining? The new accountant is very experienced, very responsive, and very quick in solving any issue.”

3. Provided better value for money

Fitness and wellness business owner Funmi Olatoye, who runs Strong For Everyday,  says it really came down to pricing: “As a small business, all outgoing costs need to be carefully considered and in the end I just didn’t feel like I was getting the level of service I expected – or needed.

“Taking the plunge to use an accountant was a big step, and I wanted to feel able to turn to my accountant in an advisory capacity, and to be able to ask questions and communicate regularly without feeling like a nuisance.

“I also found that the practice was quite traditional, and old-fashioned, and not geared to working with cloud apps which I found frustrating. I have since switched to a different firm (following a recommendation) and I’m much happier. I guess like anything you need to find the right fit for you and your business and then the cost will feel worthwhile.”

 

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