Questions to ask while shopping for a new accountant

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mrs. H, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    I'm wanting to find another accountant. We've had our current one for 7 years and we use him because family recommended him. But, I am not happy with the buisness relationship I have with their office...which is non-existant really. I don't feel like I can go in and talk to him about my questions. Like they are all too busy.

    Does anyone recommend any aspects that I should mention, questions I should ask that would help me interview a good accountant?
     
  2. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    same here, get the feeling i'm wasting there time and wants to see me fail(could go on) and there rates not cheap. spoke with mine today, finally returned call from two months ago, told me i gave her the wrong return number (have for over ten yrs. with things other than lawncare but wtf i don't even think i'd use that excuse on a customer, who i hardly know). yeah it's time to move on, find someone happy with, someone who knows lawn-care, and someone who i don't have to read them the tax laws,. if there is any.
     
  3. clallen03

    clallen03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    I think I ask this question before and I got the same results. It seems everyone recommends having a good accountant but no one has any advice on how to find one.
    It might be a taboo subject or just a secret. If so they better keep it from me because I'll let the cat out of the bag!
     
  4. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    i'm with ya, haven't done much but still looking, hopefully by end of sept. can resolve. a buddy seams happy with his so there out there, only right now not sure if how many of these are out there.
     
  5. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I think it's just trial & error. I mean you can always just go in & get an idea of their personality & how their office works, but you never know actually what goes on behind the scenes until you have them done there.
     
  6. J Hisch

    J Hisch LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    1. Find a firm that is similar in size to your business.

    2. Ask who actually fills out the returns.(office staff then they sign off)

    3. How long have they been in business

    4. Refferals, can they give you some

    5. how do they feel about taxes, take all you can or be conservative and just pay what you owe.( some try to skirt the line to much for my taste)

    6. other types of business they deal with(make sure they are service companies)

    7. how do they feel they can help and assist you in running your company

    8. call and ask to speak with the firms owner and see how far you get.
     
  7. Grass Happens

    Grass Happens LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    I try to find out from others about there accountant. Are they just paper pushers? i.e. add numbers, fill in the blank and tell you how much to cut a check for? Or do they look for ways to save you money? Tell you to buy something or find loopholes or what not. Does the firm have experience with service businesses, and how much? do they do any other landscapers? I guess how do your customers pick a good landscaper? You could use some of the same criteria.
     
  8. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,578


    All excellent advice. Only thing I can think of to add is make a mental note of how easy or difficult it is to establish a good rapport with the accountant when speaking to them. This will be the difference between easy business dealings and not-so-easy business dealings. Helps if they are a CPA as well.
     
  9. SOMM

    SOMM LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 426

    Ditto about the CPA too, All Toro. it especially helps alot in cases of succession and, God forbid, audits. If they are "Corporate Agents" for other similar contracting businesses as yours and have time to be yours', then these are the kinds of accountants to have on board.
    They are usually on first name basis' with all the assessors and revenue collectors offices.

    They put their clothes on much the same as us all, and you should have the ability to access them as in any normal business relationship. A heart to heart, eye to eye, and even cordially humorous conversation is in order - or find accountants who have the time to treat you emphatically the way you derserve to be. You should be able to freely discourse with with them at least twice a month on phone or in person or by appointment for at least a half hour at a time, without additional charge. They shouldn't charge you for faxing tax documents to prospective lenders or financing (you're gonna have to pay these accountant folks $500-$750 annually, anyway). They shouldn't charge you anymore than $50-$100 annually to be your company's official "Corporate Agent", if you are an Incorporation or LLC, registered with your respective Secretary of State for about $50-$100 annually.
     
  10. Grasscub

    Grasscub LawnSite Member
    from Ireland
    Posts: 17

    I often wonder what is the average accounts charge for preparing accounts for tax returns mine is about 2000 € year in year out for a three man operation seems very high to me for what looks very simple .never get much advise about business recond he does not give a dam so long as you can pay his cheque thank you very much
     

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