In Pursuit of Profit
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From our experience, clients seem to believe one of these perspectives wholeheartedly – there’s very little in between. And yet, neither is entirely right.
On the one hand, if you never hear from your accountant, that’s a troubling sign because you can’t be sure what they’re even doing on behalf of your organization. This kind of communication gap removes accountability, creating the opportunity for underperformance, mistakes, and even fraud to occur. However, hearing from your accountant constantly means they are spending their time talking to you instead of doing the work you have hired them to do, which is problematic (not to mention wasteful). Neither is a desirable scenario!
How Often to Communicate
So, how often should you communicate with your accountant to find a balance between accountability and efficiency?
Unfortunately, there is not one correct answer to this question. The answer is more nuanced because the frequency of your communications will depend on factors like the specific activities the accountant is performing, how complicated the company’s financials are, and an individual business owner’s preference. At a minimum though, you should receive regular reporting. This is typically done monthly but could be done more often (weekly) or less often (quarterly) as specific business circumstances necessitate.
You should also get proactive communication when there’s a problem or item of concern. If you always need to ask about an anomaly or outlier, no matter how good the explanation is that you receive back, that should be a red flag that your accountant may not be managing your books as actively as you would like.
However, this just addresses how often communication should start with your accountant. Any time you reach out to your accountant, you should get a timely and thorough response back. If you initiate communication and don’t receive a response, or the response is vague and seems to skirt your question, that is cause for concern. An accountant, whether an in-house employee or third-party consultant, should be able to answer your questions and address your concerns with clarity and accuracy.
Frequency vs Quality of Communication
Remember, there’s more to good communication than just hearing from your accountant a lot. When your accountant communicates it should be easy to understand (even if you don’t have a strong financial background) and feel more like a conversation than just simply a statement.
How often your accountant communicates is important, but what they communicate is important too! Your accountant should be able to:
An accountant’s communications should provide insight into the type of work being done and how the organization is performing. If you frequently need to ask, “What’s going on?” or “How are we doing?” then your accountant is probably not communicating enough for your company’s needs.
Fixing a Lack of Communication
If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough transparent communication from your accountant and they don’t seem willing to change, find an accounting services provider that will prioritize your needs. You should always be treated as an equal partner when communicating with your accountant, not an inconvenience.
When you need an accountant that’s responsive to your needs, please reach out to us. We have a team of highly experienced accountants ready to come alongside your organization to provide as much or as little accounting help as you need. When you have a question or concern you will get a timely response from our team. We will work with you to ensure that you have as much access to your financials as you’d like. Whether you would rather be more hands on with the work being done or would like to take a more hands off approach, we can accommodate your preferences. Let our team set you at ease by partnering with your business or nonprofit the way you want to be supported. Find out more about how our outsourced accounting services can fit your needs!