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Financial Tips & Insights from the Front-lines of Industry

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Beyond Numbers: Building a Strong Partnership with Your Accountant

Updated: Jun 10

Why is it so tough to find a decent accountant?


There are many, many excellent accountants out there, but business owners often report frustration in past accounting relationships.


Why is that?


Most often, the difficulty comes simply from a mismatch of expertise and needs.


Maybe your prior pro was an IRS income tax-expert, but your business sells physical products across the country and they were simply not able to help with sales taxes or inventory accounting issues. 


Or maybe you’ve been shoveling the cash out in taxes and your accountant doesn’t seem to have any advice to help you reduce your tax bill. 


It’s not usually that the accountant you’ve been working with is “just not good.” Rather, they are skilled at fixing problems you just don’t have. Accounting is a huge spectrum, similar to that of medicine. 


You’d never expected a spinal surgeon to perform a knee replacement surgery, right?


In the accounting world, there are CPA's, EAs, Bookkeepers, Accountants, Controllers, Certified Financial Planners, CFO's and more. Some CPA's do taxes, some don't. Same goes for every title up there.


It’s worth your time to consider your true needs, and find an accountant who specializes in those needs. 


We’ve found that when we meet with people who are considering working with us, they don’t have many questions at all.


It would be seriously advantageous to think about your financial operations, your budget, and your must-haves vs nice-to-haves of accounting support. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers, but give yourself the benfit of clarifying your starting point before you jump on that first call.


Here’s a starting point:


Prep work: 


  • What are the needs you’d like to cover? 

  • What should be prioritized vs what would be nice to have?

  • What is your budget for this, both in target and range?

  • What have you felt was missing from prior accounting partnerships?


During your initial consultation, ask key questions: 


  • Do they have experience in your industry and with the bookkeeping software you use?

  • How do they structure their services and billing? 

  • Will you be able to reach them year-round? 

  • How do they prefer to communicate and how fast can you expect them to respond to your questions? 


Taking some time to really consider your needs and develop a checklist will help you ensure that you’ve found an accountant who is a good fit for your needs. You’ll gain invaluable clarity on what it will be like to work with them, before you sign on. 


Finding a solid fit is only the first step to working productively with your accountant. Let’s talk about nurturing that relationship so you can stop the cycle of replacing your pro every tax season… 



Establish Clear & Open Communication Habits


Establishing clear communication channels with your accountant is essential for a smooth and productive relationship. You should have discussed expectations before starting work together, but it’s never too late to ask if you’re already working with an accountant. 


Ask them how they generally prefer to communicate, whether it's via email, phone calls, or in-person meetings. If you’ve been working with someone already, you might say, “Hi Accountant, I wanted to make sure I am communicating effectively. Could you let me know whether you prefer email…?” This type of language reinforces your intention to proactively navigate a successful working relationship. 


If their preferred method of communication is not ideal for you, share your preferences with them while asking if there is an appropriate way to use that method. 


For example, your accountant may prefer emails but you do much better with texts. If the relationship is otherwise fruitful, it’s worth addressing the issue directly. You could say “I appreciate that your emails are always timely and thorough, but I sometimes miss them until it’s too late. Is it possible for you to send me a quick text when you’ve sent something timely to my inbox?”


Again this sets the right tone, suggesting that surely a solution exists to any communication difficulty. 


Setting these expectations early on ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding how and when information will be exchanged.


Of course, prompt response and accessibility are crucial factors to consider when assessing communication. You want an accountant who is responsive to your inquiries and available to address any urgent concerns that may arise.

Whether it's a pressing tax question or a financial issue that needs immediate attention, knowing that your accountant is accessible provides peace of mind and reinforces trust in the relationship.


If you’re in a position where you’ve attempted to create open communication channels with your current accountant but you’re still experiencing delayed responses, it might be time to seek a better fit. 


Nurturing the Relationship Through Regular Check-Ins and Reviews


Establishing a solid partnership with your accountant doesn't end after the initial onboarding process—it requires ongoing effort and attention. Schedule regular check-ins and reviews with your accountant to ensure that your financial goals are on track and to address any emerging issues or opportunities.


These check-ins can take various forms, including scheduled meetings, conference calls, or even email updates, depending on the structure of your accountant’s services, your preferences, and the complexity of your financial situation. Use this time to review your financial performance, discuss any changes in your business or industry, and seek advice on upcoming decisions.


Regular reviews also provide an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of your financial strategies and make adjustments as needed. By staying proactive and engaged in the financial management process, you can position your business for continued success and growth.


In conclusion, nurturing a productive partnership with your accountant involves more than just finding the right fit—it requires ongoing communication, collaboration, and review. By establishing clear communication channels, providing timely information,, and engaging in collaborative decision making, you can build a strong relationship based on trust and mutual understanding. 


Wondering if we’re a good fit?


Sonder Accounting is accepting new business bookkeeping, tax, and CFO clients. As of this writing in May 2024, we’re a small team of three pros where one person is an absolute QuickBooks machine, another is a 25-year tax expert, and our founder specializes in financial modeling and strategy. We offer services in a few structures based on the needs of your business:


  • Year-round services at a flat fee, on a monthly or quarterly basis

  • Project-based consulting for a particular goal such as building your budget, determining which product skus should be shelved, launching an inventory management system, and much more

  • Annual income tax preparation

  • Strategic tax planning

  • Sales tax & payroll management


For price estimates, email hello@sonderaccounting.com with a brief overview of your needs and your company operations. If you’re ready for a conversation, schedule your complimentary discovery call here: https://calendly.com/karajanowsky/discovery-call 

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We support business owners from pre-revenue through 8-figures in gross annual revenue. You choose whether we collaborate via year-round partnerships or project-based consulting. 

About the Authors

Sonder Accounting was founded in 2016 by Kara Janowsky to serve the financial maagement needs of the nascent cannabis industry. Our small and specialized team has partnered with over 250 businesses in similar industries to build functional financials that drive business growth:

Learn more about how we work with companies like yours:

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