‘Firing’ your CPA: Tips for Handling this Difficult Situation
Note: this article refers to when you use an outside accounting firm for your company, not when you are letting an employee go.
Firing your CPA is never fun. No one enjoys those types of conversations. They’re awkward and a hassle.
However, due to the sensitivity of personal and business finances, having the right CPA by your side is critical. Unprofessionalism from an accountant is a substantial financial liability. So, cutting ties with your CPA might seem awkward, but you needn’t feel bad about it. Ultimately, you are responsible for your finances. If you realize that your current CPA is no longer a good fit for you, it’s more than reasonable to change.
Reasons to Change Accountants
It’s not always because they’re incompetent or unethical; it might just mean they’re not a good fit for you. Some situations include –
- They’re reactive, not proactive: Good accountants plan and prepare for the trends in the economy and changes in tax regulation.
- They’re making financial mistakes: Poor accounting costs you money. You could end up paying the IRS more or less than you should.
- They’re disorganized: A disorderly office and filing system is a red flag.
- They don’t assist with your record keeping: They should be willing to help you improve your systems and provide guidance and support for keeping clean financial records.
- They’re unfamiliar with your industry: Because every industry is unique, you need an accountant who is familiar enough with yours to navigate the best loans, deductions, and other financial products for your business.
- They lack integrity: You need someone who keeps their word and is honest.
- They’re non-communicative: They don’t respond efficiently to your questions or financial problems.
- They’re unethical: Report unethical behavior or accounting to your state’s CPA association.
(Depending on the situation, an honest conversation seeking clarification while sharing concerns and expectations is appropriate and could solve the issue!)
Steps for Firing Your Accountant
Hire a new CPA
Have a new accountant lined up and ready to go ahead of time. (This is particularly crucial if the firing is in the middle of tax season or another financial issue.) The new accountant may need to request files from the previous office and potentially notify the IRS.
Send a Certified Letter
Maintain a thorough paper trail by sending a certified letter to your previous CPA stating your intentions. Ask them to transfer your files to the new CPA or wait for their transfer request. You can also request a prorated refund for any paid fees that remain unperformed, as well as an itemized bill with pending work and other expenses. You are not obligated to explain or validate your reasons for terminating the relationship.
*Make sure to check your contract for specifications regarding timing and termination.
Change Your Passwords
Remove access to your accounting software, billing accounts, payroll records, etc., by changing your passwords and heightening your financial security.
The Robert Joseph Group is a leading financial staffing firm. Our years of experience and targeted recruiting methods equip us with the answers you are looking for — whether you are searching for your next career step or need talent solutions for your team. Contact us today, and let’s begin!