My accountant is charging me for breathing! Help!

Dear Aunty B,


My new accountant decided out of the blue to send me a reminder call about my BAS and then she charged me!


Then I found out she charges for every piece of correspondence. And she doesn’t see it as her role to assist me with growing the company. She says that is a separate role … and she’ll charge me extra for it.


At this rate she’ll charge me for breathing.


I changed from my old accountant because they were not forward-thinking and proactive. Now I think I have made the wrong decision.


How could I have avoided this?


L Walker,




Dear L,


Well you could try holding your breath.


Look, the answer is simple: change accountants again and this time choose the right one.


The idea is to love your accountant so much you don’t notice the fees.


Because accountants can save you money, stop you getting into loads of trouble and they can even help you have a great time!


(Does your accountant know you can spend more on your Christmas party this year?)


Here are some questions to ask when you change accountants:

  • What is your hourly rate?
  • Do you charge for every phone call/email?
  • How many businesses in my industry have you done work for?
  • How many businesses of my size have you done work for?
  • What kind of work do you specialise in?
  • What kind of work do you like doing?
  • How much work will you delegate to a junior?
  • Are there any unexpected (hidden costs)?


You could also ask some questions about their culture.

  • Explain you are a fast-growing firm and you return phone calls by the close of the same day. What is their policy?
  • Ask them how they deal with suggestions and feedback from you? Do they see this as proactive?
  • Ask them are they proactive and happy to contact you with ideas to grow?
  • Are there any other benefits such as emails, newsletters with up to date tax advice /functions or networking events?
  • Do you have access to networks and people who may be interested in buying/financing my business down the track?


Questions not to ask:

  • What is your favorite tax haven?
  • How much money can you save me in a year?


And remember that, yes, accountants do charge. But this is not a service you want to scrimp on.


Your Aunty B


Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch
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