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Unraveling Issues: The Accounting Industry, CSI, and Client Accountability

December 21st, 2023 | 8 min. read

By Brian Paulson

Nothing in this world is perfect – especially not outsourced services. Even though numbers don’t lie, mistakes can still happen when humans are the ones working with them. 

It’s not unusual for issues to arise due to the accounting industry overall, individual firms, or even the clients they work with.

At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we’ve worked with small business finances for over 50 years. Even after all this time, we still see mistakes. Sometimes we even cause them! We know it’s important to identify where errors occur, so let’s discuss:

  • Common accounting industry issues
  • Issues that can arise at CSI Accounting & Payroll
  • Issues that may be caused by clients

Blog - Unraveling Issues The Accounting Industry, CSI, and Client Accountability

Accounting Industry Issues

As a whole, the accounting industry has a lot of common issues. 

The largest issue we see in the industry is that people who are skilled in accounting often don’t have people skills or good customer service. Business owners get frustrated with poor communication all the time.

It’s hard to get most accountants to respond to an email or answer the phone. Unfortunately, if you can reach them with a question, annual tax accountants charge by the minute to answer it.

Accountants can charge high fees. This makes sense; they require high education and certifications, and they’re in high demand. However, some businesses have low funds and prefer to try to do accounting themselves with bookkeeping and tax software.

Mistakes are also fairly common, even with new technology. Sometimes errors are caused by the accountant, and sometimes clients don’t give them enough information to do accurate, complete accounting.

There’s also a lot of industry pressure during tax season. Deadlines rapidly approach while work steadily stacks up. Accountants can struggle to meet deadlines and produce accurate books.

Certain untrue expectations also stem from stereotypes of accountants. We don’t categorize these as client issues because they’re largely spread misinformation. Some examples include:

  • “My accountant can always legally lower my taxes. What I owe is in their hands.” Accountants don’t have much control over what you owe unless you work with them on a year-round tax strategy.
  • “Paying less in taxes is always a good thing.” Owing more taxes means you’re making more money. Paying less in taxes is not always the best situation.
  • “My accountant can’t tell me what I’ll owe in taxes until they file my taxes.” This is true in some instances, but a monthly accountant can give you tax projections so you know what you’ll owe months earlier.
  • “If I go through an audit, it’s always my accountant’s fault.” Sometimes they can be caused by an accountant, but audits also happen at random.
  • “If I get a letter from the government, it means my accountant did something wrong.” Sometimes errors are due to clients not providing all required details, and sometimes even the government makes mistakes and the letter is wrong!
  • “I don’t need to pay for an accountant if my administrative employee handles my bookkeeping.” There are a lot of different accounting solutions. Sometimes you can start simple, and sometimes it’s more advantageous to invest in a strategic solution, such as monthly accounting.

To take a closer look at one accounting solution, let’s examine the issues that can happen with CSI Accounting & Payroll, which is a monthly accounting service.

CSI Accounting & Payroll Issues

We don’t claim to be perfect, and we can't blame all issues on the industry! Although mistakes on our part are rare, they can still happen - and then we always do our best to resolve them.

In the past, we’ve gotten a few complaints about a longer startup time than some clients are used to. It’s because we’re checking the accuracy of your books so we can guarantee they’re audit-proofed. However, we took the feedback into consideration and recently improved our onboarding process and its speed.

As a higher accounting investment, we tend to charge a higher fee than just a bookkeeping service or just an annual tax service. However, we include more services in the fee – and therefore more value.

Another issue is that some new clients don’t like us requiring an initial year’s commitment. That means we haven't properly explained that this is for our benefit and yours. If you only worked with us for a month, you wouldn’t begin to see any benefits of year-round accounting or get much of a return on your investment.

We’ve worked hard to provide these benefits to override common industry issues: 

  • Better customer service. We hire accountants with great people skills so you can communicate and optimize your tax strategy.
  • More valuable fees. You have a fixed monthly fee instead of getting charged by the minute for advice. Plus, our monthly accounting service includes a variety of services that aren’t included in other services’ fees.
  • Lower pressure related to tax season. This is because we work with you year-round, so we’ve given your books some thought ahead of time and feel good about their accuracy.

Are you having service-level issues with your current accounting firm? Here are six signs your accounting service isn’t delivering.

Client Issues

The best clients are the ones who want to avoid making mistakes themselves, too! Avoiding common errors helps improve accuracy and efficiency all around.

Believe it or not, some prospective clients ask us to do illegal things they think will benefit them, such as claiming deductions or credits that don’t apply to them. We won’t break the law, and this helps clients too by avoiding an audit.

Sometimes clients even hesitate to share financial information. This is a valid concern in many instances, but your accountant needs this information.

Another issue is procrastination. When you work with a service, you still need to complete some tasks to help them, such as grant authorizations. If deadlines are coming up – such as the filing date during tax season – and you procrastinate but still want to be prioritized over other clients, we don’t do that. (Just like how we don’t prioritize clients based on size or revenue.)

Let’s Tackle Issues Together!

Now you know about common accounting industry, CSI, and client issues, are you ready to check out monthly accounting services? If so, please consider CSI Accounting & Payroll! We work to avoid and fix all levels of issues, including educating our clients on how to best work with us!

To see if we can be a good fit for your business, click the button below for a free consultation:


Not ready to talk? That’s okay! First, learn more about the nine most common problems businesses have with accountants.

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.