Two clients that left me years ago returned to the fold. Both clients own a business and suffered a setback when they terminated our engagement. Business is tough again and they need advice to maintain and grow their company, advice their current accountant could not provide.
I had a long talk with each this week and discovered the reasons they left my firm. First, they were embarrassed to have me see them fail, and, second, they felt it was my fault their business declined. Let me address both issues.
Embarrassment is a poor reason to end a relationship with your accountant, doctor, attorney, or any professional. Let me be clear: I am here to help you with the difficult issues. Every business eventually will hit a wall. The economy, industry, regulation, or other issue will put a company in a difficult position. This is the most important time to talk with your accountant. This rule also applies to personal finance. Accountants work financial issues all day long and frequently have referral resources to fit your specific issue. Avoiding your doctor because of an embarrassing rash is foolish. The doctor can prescribe ointment to solve the problem. Let your accountant apply some ointment to that financial, tax, or business rash.
The second issue is an underlying joke in the accounting profession. When a business fails, blame the accountant; must be his fault. This same theory shows up when people owe taxes on April 15th. Remember, you run/manage your business, not the accountant. I can give advice, but you need to apply it. The buck stops with you. It is counterproductive to blame the accountant. He is your friend, helping you sail the rough waters, with advice and referrals. Your accountant wants you to succeed. We want to keep you as a client. Trust me on this, I want my clients to all be rich and getting richer. Wealthy clients make accountants happy. If only I could force you to work through the issues.
Don't be afraid of your accountant; our job is to help with the tough issues. We've seen most of it before. We enjoy the challenge, want to help. As a group, accountants snap into action mode when a client comes in with issues. We shine brightest at these moments.