Working with an accountant

What Not to Do When You’re Working with an Accountant

When you’re working with an accountant, you expect them to look after your money. That’s a given. Most clients respect that this is in return for patience and on time payments, however there’s a few that don’t.

Maintaining a good relationship with your accountant is vital if you want to run a prosperous business and stay on top of where your company stands financially. To avoid being ‘that’ client, take note of the things you shouldn’t do when you’re working with an accountant.

Dump Messy Paperwork on Them

If you want your accountant to take care of your finances, don’t waste time by cluttering their desk with paperwork! It can take hours to sort out someone’s unorganised accounts – and that’s before you’ve even begun inputting the numbers.

Consider your accountant before you rock up with a plastic bag full of receipts and take a little time to sort and file the paperwork. You’ll save yourself money by reducing the amount of time you’re taking up from your accountant – and they’re more likely to put you at the top of their list!

Harass Them

Ringing up your accountant every day to check if they got your email isn’t going to do you any favours. Respect that accountants have many clients they’re working with, and will probably need some time to get around to your email.

You might not be the most patient person in the world, but leave it a good few days (unless it’s urgent) to ring and chase up your accountant. Harassing your accountant with minor issues will simply detract from the time they have to spend on your accounts. At the same time, don’t assume they’ve got your email if they haven’t replied after a couple of weeks – they may have not received it after all.

Expect Priority

If you’re paying money for someone to do your accounts, then you expect them to be done thoroughly, of course. What you should not expect is that your accountant is going to place your work above everyone else’s.

Rather than assuming you’re top of the list, assume you’re at the bottom. This way, you won’t submit any late tax returns and if you get work in nice and early your accountant will be able to raise any issues with you in plenty of time.

Ignore Advice

Despite what many think, accountants aren’t just number-crunchers. They know the ins and outs of every business structure and will be your ticket to becoming as tax efficient as possible. If you form your company through your accountant, you’re probably already on the best structure for your business, but if not, you may need to take some advice.

The majority of directors and sole traders will take their accountants word over their own mothers (this could be a slight exaggeration). There will be some clients, however, who believe that they know best.

If you’re one of these there are a few guidelines to take on board. Rather than immediately shirking your accountant’s advice, take time to consider it and ask questions. If you still genuinely believe that your way is better, speak to your accountant and tell them why you think that. They’ll be more understanding than if you immediately assume they’re doing their job wrong!

Wait Until the Last Minute

We’ve briefly mentioned that you shouldn’t expect priority, and as a result, you shouldn’t leave any submissions until the last minute. Unless you’re willing to incur a fine from HMRC, you should give your accountant a couple of weeks at the very latest to process tax returns. This might seem like a long amount of time to some, but remember – they’ll have plenty of other tax returns coming in at the same time.

Are you guilty of one of the above? Or would you call yourself the perfect client? Leave us a comment below!

Kara Copple
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.