Author Topic: Should I get a new accountant ?  (Read 1437 times)

GetSmart

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Should I get a new accountant ?
« on: September 20, 2018, 05:57:05 PM »
Iíve had some issues with my accountant over the last couple of years which is leading me to look for someone new.

Without going into a lot of detail just a few of the issues are:

making several errors  (which I caught)  that once fixed saved me $4k in taxes (thatís not minor right?)

return was not checked by CPA before being sent to me for signing one day before deadline because he ďknew I would check every number cause Iím analĒ !?

office staff that is doing the return do not know how 401kís work and some basic things about quickbooks; if I need QB help I search on the internet as they usually donít know the answer to my question; Iím only using QB at their insistence ó itís a much bigger program than I need for my small businesses.

last year I was billed over $5300 to file two SK-1ís and one 1040 MFJ with a bunch of forms attached.  In the end I paid around $4000 because I think even the CPA realized he had made some major errors (although somehow I was to blame because I pointed out the errors without sugar-coating it?). 

Is this a reasonable amount for this work ?

Do all accountants work like this?

I never get an explanation of things that might have changed from last year; never have a face-to-face (work via email & phone); never discuss tax strategy.  Itís more like: I provide numbers, they plug them in to program and spit out returns, I get a bill, review return and sign it and send check for services.  Iím responsible for the information I provide if incorrect, yet I get to pay them an hourly rate to fix mistakes that were made on their part.

Ironically they advertise as being the opposite of all the things I describe above.

Should I be looking for a different kind of accountant ?  Does one even exist that might actually review your returns with you or discuss tax strategy ala MMM ?  Is it too risky to change with the new tax law going into effect this year ? 

BTDretire

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 08:33:51 PM »
I have a small business and a CPA, I paid him $600 last year. That was for 39 forms.
 If your going to look it over so well I'd find someone a lot cheaper and save the $4k + then spend a couple more hours looking it over.
 What is the accountant doing that he charged you so much?
 I admit I only see my accountant one time a year, but...

GetSmart

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2018, 07:08:15 AM »
Thanks for the reply BTD.  Well I can tell you that one SK-1 has 3 forms; the second SK-1 has 6 forms and the 1040 had 11 forms.  Most of these forms have very few numbers on them (it's not as if I have something on every line).  Plus state forms. 

I think my businesses are very simple; yet this CPA keeps telling me my taxes are very complicated, which I think he does to justify his prices. 

I review it closely now because many years ago a different firm had a typo which I did not catch and that caused me to lose several thousand for a few years in a row.

Can I ask what part of the country you are in to pay 600?  I also get the 'big city prices' lecture - which is kind of a joke as he's not anywhere near the city nor paying city prices for office rent.

BTDretire

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 08:27:20 AM »
I'm in the Florida Panhandle.
I could be in for a surprise this year, my accountant died and
an existing company took over his practice.
My 2017 taxes were done by his assistant, as my accountant was ill at the time.
I might find the new people charge more.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2018, 09:21:05 AM »
Forgive my ignorance, but have you considered doing them yourself?  Since in effect, you take their work product and fix all the mistakes anyways, you might be able to rely on their past work to see how it's done anyways.  And going through the forms yourself will be educational, even if you only do it a year or two.

What's the downside to switching to a new accountant?
Might be worth asking people you know for referrals.

GetSmart

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2018, 11:58:43 AM »
I used to do them myself for many years, so I have a pretty good grasp of how to do them -- that's not really the issue. 

There are 2 small businesses which require SK-1's and I understand (mostly through this website) that that is not a DIY thing. Although I suppose I could potentially have someone do those and then do the individual return myself, which might save some money but not stress.

Plus I have enough to do that I don't really have time to keep up with the latest tax code; especially this year :)

BTDretire

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2018, 06:19:15 PM »
I did a search on SK1, best I can find is that is actually a Schedule K1.
 Yep, had a buddy that had some K1s, he hated them and sold just to get rid
of the hassle.

walkwalkwalk

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2018, 08:14:22 PM »
I did a search on SK1, best I can find is that is actually a Schedule K1.
 Yep, had a buddy that had some K1s, he hated them and sold just to get rid
of the hassle.

They can't just "sell them" They are saying they own businesses that generate this form. Not investment K-1's.

Sibley

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2018, 09:01:47 PM »
OP, yes, find a new accountant. Yours sucks.

-That level of error should NEVER get past a competent tax preparer
-Your returns should be reviewed by the CPA.
-Those rates seem quite high to me
-You're generally not happy.

Find someone else.

GetSmart

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2018, 03:16:10 PM »
OP, yes, find a new accountant. Yours sucks.

-That level of error should NEVER get past a competent tax preparer
-Your returns should be reviewed by the CPA.
-Those rates seem quite high to me
-You're generally not happy.

Find someone else.

Thanks Sibley -- I've started looking for someone new.  I just wanted confirmation that I was not expecting too much.  And I just needed to vent, I guess. :)

CareCPA

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2018, 12:25:05 PM »
OP, yes, find a new accountant. Yours sucks.

-That level of error should NEVER get past a competent tax preparer
-Your returns should be reviewed by the CPA.
-Those rates seem quite high to me
-You're generally not happy.

Find someone else.
This x1000.
That price level for what you described only makes sense in value billing, and it doesn't sound like you're getting the value that's being billed for.

SeattleCPA

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2018, 04:58:58 PM »
Iíve had some issues with my accountant over the last couple of years which is leading me to look for someone new.

Without going into a lot of detail just a few of the issues are:

making several errors  (which I caught)  that once fixed saved me $4k in taxes (thatís not minor right?)

return was not checked by CPA before being sent to me for signing one day before deadline because he ďknew I would check every number cause Iím analĒ !?

office staff that is doing the return do not know how 401kís work and some basic things about quickbooks; if I need QB help I search on the internet as they usually donít know the answer to my question; Iím only using QB at their insistence ó itís a much bigger program than I need for my small businesses.

last year I was billed over $5300 to file two SK-1ís and one 1040 MFJ with a bunch of forms attached.  In the end I paid around $4000 because I think even the CPA realized he had made some major errors (although somehow I was to blame because I pointed out the errors without sugar-coating it?). 

Is this a reasonable amount for this work ?

Do all accountants work like this?

I never get an explanation of things that might have changed from last year; never have a face-to-face (work via email & phone); never discuss tax strategy.  Itís more like: I provide numbers, they plug them in to program and spit out returns, I get a bill, review return and sign it and send check for services.  Iím responsible for the information I provide if incorrect, yet I get to pay them an hourly rate to fix mistakes that were made on their part.

Ironically they advertise as being the opposite of all the things I describe above.

Should I be looking for a different kind of accountant ?  Does one even exist that might actually review your returns with you or discuss tax strategy ala MMM ?  Is it too risky to change with the new tax law going into effect this year ?

I think we don't know enough to say whether your price is reasonable and what the problems are in the relationship.

This thought though: If you're someone who does a good job with your bookkeeping, does a good job organizing your source documents, if you use the organizer and you turn stuff in at one time rather than in a trickle, and then if you plan ahead (and in recognition of the reality that CPA has hundreds of tax returns to do), you should have a pretty complicated tax return if you're paying $4K or $5K.


CapAccountant10

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2018, 08:31:13 PM »
I have a small business and a CPA, I paid him $600 last year. That was for 39 forms.
 If your going to look it over so well I'd find someone a lot cheaper and save the $4k + then spend a couple more hours looking it over.
 What is the accountant doing that he charged you so much?
 I admit I only see my accountant one time a year, but...

Out of curiosity, what do you mean by "39 Forms"? As in schedules?

wageslave23

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2018, 02:48:59 PM »
Yes, I would find a new CPA, it can't hurt.  When you find a decent one though, don't keep switching because consistency in preparers is important in limiting errors.  Also, if an "error" doesn't have an effect on the taxes let it go, or else you will just piss of the CPA.  Yes, the prices could be feasible depending on how "clean" your books are.

Incompetent CPA

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2018, 09:59:43 AM »
Yes, you absolutely should at least look around. I work for a large national public accounting firm and from what I can tell, you would probably pay about half that for our services... and that's with tax directors spending an hour of review time at $400+/hour. Nearly zero chance of us making a mistake, and there will be at least 1-2 CPA's looking over the return(s).

Still Being

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Re: Should I get a new accountant ?
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2018, 11:31:39 AM »
Is it too risky to change with the new tax law going into effect this year ?

To answer this point: No risk because the changes impact everyone, and a good accountant will do a better job of understanding the new law while a bad one will only make additional mistakes.