Accountants come in all different shapes and sizes, but it's important to find one that is right for you and your business/taxation needs. I've had numerous clients come to me and comment on the inadequacies of their previous accountant. Below I've put together a list of three accountants who exhibit the most common traits of an "Unaccountable Accountant":
The 'Monologuing' Type
"I don't understand what my Accountant is talking about"
This type of accountant generally doesn't care much about your situation as they do about your wallet.
The 'Too Busy' Type
"My Accountant doesn't return my phone calls as they're too busy"
While hard workers, this type of accountant usually preferences work that makes them the most money.
The 'Complicated' Type
"I wish my Accountant would explain simply what they're saying"
These macho accountants don't value building a relationship with you, they value building a relationship with their own ego.
The question remains however; what traits should a quality accountant have? Besides the opposite of the above, I detail a few of the desirable characteristics of an accountant you should go for and keep:
Telling someone all of your business and personal operations can be daunting. A trustworthy accountant is one that will listen with eagerness to your situation. They will make you feel confident that your information is private and being used only for the purpose of your engagement with the accountant.
Although you won't have a constant need to interact with your accountant, it is important that you develop a good relationship with an accountant that you get along with. Most people are a good judge of character from the initial visit so first impressions count. If you feel like you can't have a good laugh with your accountant or that you can't be yourself around them then you may not gel with them. However, some people prefer little to no personality in their accountants, so, each to their own.
Works with you, not for you:
Engaging a quality accountant is like working together in a partnership; both parties work towards a profitable end. Your accountant should be invested in your success, they should be quick to offer tips and tricks to maximise your tax and personal situation. These accountants are worth every dollar they charge.
There are many accountants who are all too eager to cross the line of legality to ensure that their clients receive the ultimate treatment. While this loyalty can be respected, their willingness to rort the system is not. It's no lie that accountants who engage in this type of conduct earn their clients far better results than honest accountants, but there are numerous reasons to avoid these accountants at all costs. These accountants almost always have back up plans for when they are caught. Do you? Although there are safe harbour provisions to protect you as the client, if it can be proven that you and your accountant worked together in this scheme there are severe penalties (claiming simple ignorance will not be enough). Honest accountants on the other hand will provide you the assurance and security of your tax position whilst gaining the best legal outcome for you. Never underestimate the powers and penalties of the ATO, no matter what your accountant tells you.
All in all, get yourself an accountant that is right for you. If you feel like you are getting value out of your accountant then that's great! If you feel that your accountant could do better or that they aren't worth the money you're spending, then get in touch with Maurer Taxation and let us prove to you what a quality accountant should be like.