Regardless of how long you have maintained your relationship with your accountant, and regardless of whether you have a personal or business accountant, or both, it’s wise to step back and assess him or her on occasion. After all, you have entrusted this person, or business, with your finances. Here are a few things to key in on when evaluating your relationship with your current accountant.
In Australia and New Zealand, almost anyone who provides public accounting services must hold a certificate of some kind. The requirements are as follows:
- Limited Practice Certificate: Anyone who earns between $7,500 – $25,000 gross in accounting fees each year.
- Public Practice Certificate: Anyone who earns in excess of $25,000 in gross accounting fees per year.
This is a requirement, and the certificate must be renewed annually. If your accountant falls into one of these categories but does not maintain a current certificate then he or she is out of compliance.
The exception to this is anyone who earns less than $7,500 in gross accounting fees per year. However, everyone is required to maintain indemnity insurance.
Ask your accountant to see confirmation of the certificate and/or insurance. If he can’t or won’t produce it consider changing accountants. This applies to both a personal and a business accountant.
If your accountant ever asks you to sign a blank tax form, or any other incomplete form, then change accountants right away. He may try to sell you on the fact that he’s rushed or it’s more convenient for you this way, but the truth is that the practice of asking clients to form blank documents is simply unethical, and any accountant who dares ask this of you doesn’t deserve your business.
If your accountant doesn’t ask you to read/review any documents before signing them should be replaced as well. Again, this is simply unethical.
Whether you need a personal or company accountant, your best bet is to sign on with a chartered accountant. They work for only the most reputable firms, have extensive professional networks, and undergo additional rigorous training beyond their standard accounting degree. You can always be assured that you will get the most thorough and ethical service from a chartered accountant, and they are more than certified, they’re chartered!