I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with business owners that want a more proactive accountant. Many accountants unfortunately are reactive. They are really good at answering questions or determining how to treat something once it has happened, but they rarely point something out in advance or provide much value until it’s too late.
While I think everyone would agree that a proactive accountant is better than a reactive, do you really know what that looks like? Let me show you.
Strong Communication and Response Time
This is the foundation of a proactive accountant. Do they respond to your calls/emails/texts in a timely fashion? Do they get you the information you need, when you need it? If you can’t emphatically answer yes to both of these questions, you should consider working with someone new. They will never be proactive if they can’t respond to an email rather quickly.
Raises Issues and Provides Recommendations
Most accountants can work through issues or solve problems. It’s the ones that can see them coming that can bring real value. Does your accountant raise issues or do they just respond to questions? Do they provide recommendations or do they give you a product and let you do your thing? There are situations where you don’t need proactive advice. But if you are growing your business and need some guidance, make sure your accountant is providing that to you.
Candid Truth and Tough Conversations
Part of being a proactive accountant is talking with your clients, even if it’s a “tough” conversation. As accountants, we don’t always have good news for clients. Do we try to sugar-coat the truth or just come right out with it? Our clients deserve to know the truth. They are depending on us for financial wisdom and we are doing them a disservice if we shy away from conversations that we “think” they don’t want to hear.
Keep Up with Laws and Regulations
This is more prevalent in certain fields of accounting, but it is still important across the board. As an accountant, laws are constantly changing. We need to keep up to date on these so we can relay them when they pertain to our clients. If you aren’t sure how your accountant is doing, just ask them how they keep up with the ever-changing laws? Their answer will tell you everything you need to know.
Take It Personal
Every time you read something or learn something new you probably think, how does that apply to my personal life, my busines life, etc. Your accountant should have the same mindset with their clients. When they read a new law they should think, how does this apply to my clients? How can this new software make my clients more efficient? How can this financial strategy help them grow? Find an accountant who is invested in your business that is always keeping you in mind.
The bottom line is, you deserve to have someone in your corner looking out for you. Don’t settle for an accountant who only shows up when you need them.