Accountants are not known for their customer service. One of the most common compliants from clients is that their accountant doesn’t call them back. I recently read an article listing the 7 1/2 Reasons Your Accountant Doesn’t Call You Back and found it interesting and entertaining.
7 ½ Reasons Your Accountant Doesn’t Call You Back (Originally from an article by Core Financial and Business Services)
1. They don’t think your situation is as important as you do. Accountants are not known for great customer service. Often they prioritize based on client size, profitability, and the ability to bill hours. The result is that many good clients go underserved.
2. Accountants are more comfortable working with numbers than people. Some say that accountants are not the most sociable people. Many have a hard time relating to the priorities and needs of their clients. When given a choice to crunch the numbers or address critical client issues, most will choose the numbers.
3. You don’t have the relationship you thought you had. Don’t take it personally. In order to have a relationship you have to be able to relate, and most accountants just can’t relate to you as a business owner. A lack of good communication is just a symptom of a weak relationship.
4. Accountants need to work on their communication skills. Good communication skills are essential in business (see above). However, most accountants have done little to develop these skills. Ask your current accountant if they have had any formal communication training.
5. They are afraid that you will be angry with what they have to tell you. Many accountants would rather ignore a difficult situation than address it. They find it very hard to move out of their comfort zone. The problem is, most of what you do as a business owner is outside of this zone. This includes dealing with bad news and addressing surprises. Of course, the best way to address a surprise is to prevent it in the first place. Since most accountants spend their careers working with historical numbers, preventing surprises is not one of their strong points. Think of it this way: Working with historical data is like trying to drive your car looking through the rearview mirror.
6. They can’t answer the question you are asking.. Many firms lack the depth and diversity of business experience to think differently. They simply cannot answer questions related to the critical areas of your business – the areas that really drive growth, profits, and value. Most accountants are in the practice of accounting and not in the business of adding value to their clients.
7.5 They have too much to do. (This is worth 1.5). Most accountants are not good managers of time or people. That’s why they are accountants and not managers or business owners.
Mark Nelson is a partner with Hayden, Miller & Nelson, Growth & Strategy Advisory and Certified Public Accountants. HMN is a firm of business people serving business people. We are out to change the way accounting firms deliver value to their clients by providing a level of business expertise and client service that other firms simply cannot.