How do you know if you have a good accountant?


First, we need to remind ourselves that all accountants are not alike.  For example, taxes are so complicated that no one can master them all.  In tax prep, knowledge is king.  However some accountants are reluctant to claim deductions or credits they KNOW their client is entitled to because “that would be like waving a red flag.”  This means that that accountant has already given up BEFORE the fight.  If you have a valid deduction or credit and you aren’t claiming it…there’s a problem, receipts or not.


Second, we must understand that tax prep is more than a “math problem” because in the case of math problems it doesn’t make a difference who does the problem – the answer should be the same.


Third, many accountants charge flat rates, whether they do any work or not!  At PBS you only pay for the services performed.  We offer accounting services, tax planning and preparation, payroll processing, and bookkeeping among other services.


So why don’t clients change accountants?  Well, the answer is threefold.

  1. Part of the answer lies in reluctance to make any kind of change that might affect a business. Change involves unknowns and we all fear the unknown.
  2. Part of the answer lies in whom you might change to. That is, how does one know whether the next accountant will be any better?
  3. The final part of the answer seems to lie in our innate reluctance to admit we made a mistake in choosing our current accountant. I think this also helps to explain why we stand behind them so fervently although we have no clear evidence to support our endorsement of them.  We retreat to notions of good personality, attentiveness, responsiveness and the like.  Not being accountants, the general public has nothing else on which to base their assessment …or do they?


Why you should try PBS

To address the dilemma that people face we offer to review prior year tax returns for FREE.  This accomplishes several things:

  1. We get to know you on paper, that is, your circumstance and financial condition.
  2. We have a basis for commenting on what has transpired and may recommend corrective action.
  3. In the best case, we confirm that your current accountant is performing up to standards.

But the review will at least begin a discussion about qualifications and/or competency.


PBS has Enrolled Agents

Q – How are “Enrolled Agents” different from CPA’s?

A – An Enrolled Agent is a certification conferred by the IRS for passing the IRS tax prep course.


Q – What are the advantages of a “Team Approach?”

A – We have several people review the tax returns to make sure they are completed properly and that all possible deductions have been taken.


Q – Does your accountant charge you to research tax issues if they don’t know the rules?

A – At PBS you only get charged for the work that we do for you, not for any research that is done.


Q – Does your accountant help you in understanding and planning or does he just “dump” the return on you, take it or leave it?

A – Our approach is consultative; we work together to bring you the best solution for your needs.


Q – Does your accountant help you with other financial matters besides income tax?

A –   Because we offer a wide array of services we can take a more comprehensive approach to your accounting needs and bundle the cost to keep our fees the lowest around.


In conclusion, take advantage of the free tax reviews and get to know us with no obligation.  At least TRY to determine whether your accountant is good or not.  Don’t get caught in a “penny wise: pound foolish” trap where you select the cheap accounting or tax preparation method (including do-it-yourself) not realizing that saving a couple hundred dollars on prep fees might cost you thousands of dollars in overpaid taxes.  A GOOD accountant and tax preparer will more than pay his own way.

4 thoughts on “How do you know if you have a good accountant?

  1. That makes sense that an accountant who passed the IRS’s tax prep course could be valuable. Knowledge base is an important part of doing taxes. I bet there are lots of deductions small businesses miss when they don’t have an accountant.

  2. I appreciate your tip to hire an accountant that can help you adapt to change. I also like how you said that they should have knowledge or specialization in the services that you need help with. My parents are looking into accountants to help them with their trusts and estates; thanks for the tips.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.