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All accountants are not created equally.  Here are three red flags that you could be getting sub-standard advice and help from an accountant who stands between you and your best bottom-line.

Red Flag #1:  Your accountant isn’t responsive.

If your “client experience” with your accountant has you feeling like you’re unimportant or that he is too busy to return your call, this is a huge red flag that it’s time to look for a new accountant.

When you have questions or concerns for your accountant, since they are a service provider, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a text, call, or email…even during tax season.

Every proficient accountant is well-aware of the constraints of the tax season and they make sure that they are fully staffed so that they are available for their clients.

Don’t settle for an accountant who doesn’t give you top-rate customer service, even during “busy” season!

Red Flag #2:  You only hear from your accountant during tax season.

Here’s the deal.  If you only hear from your accountant during tax time, then you could be getting a  raw deal…and it’s likely that you are leaving money on the table and inevitably paying more to Uncle Sam than you would with a proactive accountant who actually gives you tax advice throughout the year.

A good accountant will meet with you at least a couple of times (outside of tax time).  He will be interested in your business and open to sharing recommendations that extend beyond taxes.

You could even gain insights on subjects, like business management and insurance,  that will help you to run a more profitable business.

Red Flag #3:  Your accountant acts as if he is employed by the IRS.

If it seems like your accountant is so risk-averse that he’s unwilling to take reasonable risks, this is a red flag.

And while it’s not advisable to hire an accountant who breaks the law, it is important to feel as though your accountant is on your side, has your back, and is willing to ensure you are well-informed about the risks and rationale for his recommendations.

If your accountant just prepares your taxes, then you are getting short-changed on all the benefits of a well-seasoned, highly informed, and service-oriented accountant.