Working With a New Accounting Firm – Here’s What to Expect

Are you working with a new accounting firm? Whether you’re switching to a new firm or working with one for the first time, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed or intimidated. The great news is that the process isn’t as complicated as you think.

Every firm is different, but I’m going to share the process we use at my firm to put your mind at ease and help you move forward with confidence.

Get to Know You With a Discovery

At the start of any new relationship, getting to know each other is important. That’s where the Discovery call comes into play.

At our firm, the discovery call is where we learn all about your needs and explain how we can help you. It’s also an opportunity for you to get to know our firm and how we operate. 

During this call, we’ll discuss important things, like:

  • The challenges you’re facing
  • The things that are working well for you right now
  • Your annual revenue 
  • How many employees you have
  • Your current accounting software setup

You’ll also have a chance to ask your own questions. We schedule 45 minutes for these, but some firms may want to arrange another meeting to discuss your business needs more in-depth.

If all goes well, you may decide to move forward with your new accounting firm.

Proposal Sent Within 48 Hours

If the discovery call goes well and it looks like we’d be a good fit for each other, the next step at our firm is to submit a proposal.

At our firm, we send proposals within 48 hours of a discovery call, but other firms may have different timelines.

Our proposals have three tiers, each offering a different level of service and access to me. Other firms may have different formats for their proposals, but generally, they will outline:

  • Their services 
  • The cost of their services, including the initial setup, ongoing monthly fees and any one-time additional service fees 

Proposals should spell out every service and fee so that there’s no confusion. You should understand when the firm will be available to you and what will be expected of you if you decide to work together.

If you’re happy with the proposal, the next step is to sign it and submit it to the firm. We use Ignition to make this process a breeze.

Here’s What Happens After Your Proposal is Signed

You’ve signed our proposal – we’re now working together. We have quite a few items to tick off of our checklist to really begin digging into your business’s financials. First, we’ll request access to:

  • QuickBooks (or your accounting software)
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit card accounts
  • Etc.

If you don’t want to provide us with access to your bank or credit card accounts, don’t worry: we have other options available. We use Client Hub, which we’ll invite you to use. This platform allows us to communicate with you, ask questions, and request documents.

You can upload your most recent bank statements and credit card statements right through our Client Hub portal if you would rather not give us access to these accounts. All file sharing is done through encrypted channels to ensure that your private information never ends up in the hands of malicious actors.

We’ll request multiple documents and information that we’ll need to begin working with you. Client Hub allows us to:

  • Create and track client tasks that you’ll need to complete at every step in the process.
  • Chat with us, send messages, and even send files.
  • Send and receive links from you and keep them in one central location.

Through our client portal, we can ensure that nothing falls through the cracks when you work with us. When we have every last document, it helps streamline our working relationship.

Expectations of Ongoing Work

Our work starts the first month following your signing as a client. We’ll begin once all of the required documents are sent to us. However, the tier of service will dictate when:

  • Financials are delivered (a specific week during the month)
  • Delivery frequency (monthly, quarterly, and so on)

Financial statement delivery is an exciting time, and we’ll make it as easy as possible to view your finances at a glance. You’ll be able to review a summary of:

  • Important things to note in the statement
  • Critical things we think you should consider

We leave it up to you if you want to meet with us to review these items. Most of our clients will make room in their schedule to have a meeting where we’re more than happy to review the statements together and answer any lingering questions that you may have.

We’ll also discuss important due dates that must be met. Using a central client portal means that we have one location where you can easily review due dates and documents you must send us to complete the tasks we need to complete on our end.

Our goal is to handle your books, but as your accountant, it’s crucial to know that you still need to be involved. We’re partners who work best together when there are open lines of communication.

If you make crucial financial decisions, we need to know about them ASAP to help guide you down a financially sound path. A few of the times when you should reach out to us are when:

  • Securing a business loan
  • Purchasing high-value equipment
  • Acquiring real estate or other businesses

We may be able to help you save money or better understand the financial ramifications of your decisions. Over time, we’ll learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we’ll have an easier time working together.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, you’ll need to switch accountants as your income changes or your business grows. Working with a new team shouldn’t be intimidating – it should excite you. Ask questions, work through the onboarding process, and maintain close contact if major changes occur to your finances or capital.

We have systems and processes in place to help streamline the process from the initial discovery call to the proposal and even signing up and using the client portal. 

To learn more about working with a new accounting firm and how our process works or to schedule an appointment, click here

Ready to take control of your financial future?

Contact us today to learn more about our expert financial planning services and to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced planners.
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