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How to Evaluate the Performance of Your Small Business Accountant

February 23rd, 2017 | 4 min. read

By Brian Paulson



It’s tax season again! You’re probably a bit stressed out by running your business and trying to gather annual tax information for your accountant at the same time.

When all the hard work is over, are you ever left wondering if your accountant brought enough to the table this tax season?

Rather than waiting 12 months to think about working with the same accountant again, now it the best time to evaluate his or her performance. Plus, it’s better to start a new working relationship with an accountant early on in the year to position your small business for success moving forward.

Evaluating the Performance of Your Accountant

  • Did your accountant save you time?

We don’t have to explain to you how valuable a small business owner’s time is. You get it. That’s why you reached out to an accountant in the first place, but did your accountant really save you time? Was it noticeable in the day-to-day routine of managing your business?

  • Did your accountant save you money?

Skilled accountants are experienced in maximizing deductions for small businesses. What was the outcome of your taxes this year? Were they able to shave off tax obligations compared to previous years?

  • Did your accountant make themself available when you had questions about the process?

You probably have a lot of questions when it comes to your money. Did your accountant welcome questions throughout the process?

  • Did you accountant listen to your needs and unique financial situation?

Every business has different challenges and opportunities. Make sure your accountant is really treating your business as a true partner in success.

  • Was your accountant organized, detail-oriented, and conscientious?

This seems like a no-brainer, but should be addressed. You should feel confident that your accountant has attention to detail in all aspects of your accounts.

  • Did your accountant simplify the work you needed to accomplish to prepare for the tax season?

In other words, did your accountant provide you with a list of items to prepare, as well as remind you of upcoming deadlines and timetables for exchanging information?

  • Did your accountant provide suggestions or recommendations for your business moving forward?

In addition to preparing your taxes, did your accountant take the extra time to identify and explain how you might maximize your deductions or grow your business in the current year?

  • Did your accountant find any new tax savings compared to previous years?

After all of the numbers were crunched, what was the bottom line? You should be working with an accountant who proactively finds new ways to save money.

  • Was your accountant’s billing straightforward and properly communicated?

If you were surprised when the bill came, that’s a bad sign. Accounting and tax preparation should feel like an investment in your business rather than an expense. That being said, you should never feel like you’re being charged extra for add-on expenses.

  • Did your business have to file for an extension?

Having to file for an extension might be a red flag. Unless the reasons were positive, such as extreme growth requiring the need to prepare more paperwork than expected, your accounting should be delivered on time.

  • Was your accountant efficient in his work?

Everyone is busy during tax filing season; however, you should expect prompt service and answers to your questions.

  • Did you accountant fully explain your tax return?

Even if your accountant was focused and efficient, did he take the time to sit down with you after the paperwork was ready. Often, business owners can learn valuable tips during this step in preparing for the current tax year.

  • Was annual advice and tax preparation enough to help grow your business?

If you’re left wanting more advice or help with your monthly reporting, bookkeeping, and payroll, you may want to consider moving forward with monthly accounting services for your small business.

Depending on how you’re accountant performed this tax season, you may want consider another option. If you’d like to see if CSI Accounting & Payroll is the right solution for your small business in Minneapolis, contact us for a complimentary consultation.


Brian Paulson

Brian began working at CSI in 1996, and he purchased the business in 2002. As Owner, his primary role is in the management and growth of the firm. Since 2002, the firm has more than quadrupled in size. In 2009, Brian started CSI’s payroll service to complement CSI’s accounting and tax services. Brian received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota, with a double major in Accounting and Financial Management. He’s a member of both the National Society for Tax Professionals and the National Society for Accountants, and he serves on the board of directors for the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants, where he was once president. Brian also serves on the business advisory council for Opportunity Partners, an organization that helps people with disabilities find employment. He’s also contributed to several business books, including Six Steps to Small Business Success and The Lean Mean Business Machine. Fun Fact: To help put himself through college, he used student loans, delivered pizzas, and worked summers in a salmon processing plant in Alaska.