Divorce is always messy, even when all the parties agree to the breakup. But what about when you find yourself needing to change your accountant, your hair stylist or even your landscaper? None of us like change but how do you know when it is time? Sometimes, the changes are forced upon us by a move or someone closing their business or their retirement, but when it comes to your CPA or accountant who, like many professionals can do their work remotely, and often do work with clients all over the world, how do you know it is time to make the split?

In business, there are many types of breakups. The new guy down the street just moved in and is cheaper, faster, better looking or whatever than who you’ve done business with before.  Sometimes you’ll decide to move on to someone else and never even inform the original service provider that you were unsatisfied, like going to a different mechanic than the one who worked on your car last time that forgot to tighten an important bolt. Maybe your needs have changed and your current provider doesn’t offer the services you now need. I have had this happen to me as clients leave and as new clients come to me. I always ask potential clients why they are considering changing. When they say they are unsatisfied and just want to move on, I’ve often found they are just price hopping, and they want it done cheaper. For those people, I normally tell them upfront that I am probably not going to be their cheaper option and they should consider talking things over with their current provider.

But, when the provider doesn’t have the type of services you would like them to, then is really when it is time to start looking for other options. Maybe you traded in that old clunker on a fancy new sports car. The old shade tree mechanic might not be sophisticated enough to maintain your new thoroughbred ride. Keep in mind that you will often be paying more for those new services.

The most common reasons why my clients say they’ve choose to find a new account is, because I insist that my clients use cloud based accounting application and some just don’t want to do that. Some have changed businesses or moved and have decided to go with someone nearer to them, although most of my clients aren’t even here in Colorado where I am (that is what is so great about the online cloud based accounting solution we recommend – I don’t need to be local to their business to work on their accounting – but I digress).

When a new client comes to me, I’ve been told it’s because their current provider does not understand their business or that they don’t provide the services they are looking for. Some have found me because of the cloud based applications I use. And some have come to me because their current accountant has apparently fallen off the face of the earth or gone into Wittiness Protection and the client can’t reach them (this is very common in accounting firms because our clients like to have us on speed dial but don’t like to make appointments to talk about their situation at a decent hour). I’ve had a client show up to our house at 11pm because “the phone was busy, so we must be there and able to see them” (we had teenage boys, on the phone, with their friends). And to be honest, I’ve also been told a few times that it can be hard to reach me (Yes, I’m working on fixing that).

So, my advice to you, is before you switch accountants – talk to your current advisor. Often, they’ll know there is a problem and can refer you to someone that may be better suited to your needs or they will change the way they do business and start offering the services you desire. But we will take the late night, 11pm accounting services notion “under advisement.”