There are many reasons leaders of organizations are hesitant to change CPA firms. Maybe they feel loyal to the firm that’s been preparing their financial statements for years. Maybe they’re afraid a new CPA will take longer to get up to speed on the way their organization does things. Or maybe they feel as if there’s no better service out there.
In reality, CPA firms are like any other professional service provider: the customer decides who gets their business. The only difference in hiring an auditor is that many leaders lack the specific expertise associated with this service, which means they may feel more uncomfortable making demands on the auditors and accountants they work with.
So whether you’ve only ever experienced one auditor or your company goes out for bid every 3 years, here’s what you need to know to make the most of changing CPA firms.
Benefits of Switching Firms
If people around you are tempted to point out what’s difficult about switching CPA firms, we’re here to remind you that any real or perceived challenges are balanced by enticing benefits. Think about embracing the opportunity to create new habits, experience a new service provider, and learn from the process.
Though the process should be easy (and enjoyable!), it should also not be taken lightly. Look for the firm that provides the most benefits in these categories and more as you weigh the decision to stay with your current auditor or change.
Increased Value-to-Cost Ratio
The main way a new CPA firm can change your organization for the better is by providing extra value over the previous provider. This should be a major criteria in evaluating new CPA firms: “Does this firm serve our organization better than the previous one?”
Keep in mind that value goes beyond the bottom line of how much the firm costs to engage. The highest-value firm will not only prepare your financial statements accurately and ahead of deadlines, but also make the entire process enjoyable. If that sounds impossible, it may be a sign you deserve a higher value CPA firm.
If you’ve ever sent out requests for proposals (RFPs), you know how difficult it can be to compare dozens of different CPA firms when each one has submitted such a wide variety of materials. Creating a consistent and easy-to-use RFP can help organize this information, but it’s always hard to tell on paper which CPA firm will actually provide the right kind of service for your organization.
When you search for and select a new auditor, you get to see hands-on how other professionals approach, handle, and complete the financial statement preparation process. This enables your organization to better understand the types of services available and leverage that knowledge to accomplish your financial goals.
One of the underappreciated ways a new CPA firm can help your organization is by simply providing new energy. You’ve chosen well if the new auditor engages your team and energizes them to solve problems and achieve financial goals, rather than bearing down and catching every little flaw you may have made.
How to Ease A CPA Firm Transition
Changing CPA firms should be as easy as changing where you get your car washed. If you’re unsatisfied with the cleanliness of your car, the kind of soap the facility uses, or even the feeling you get when interacting with the staff members, you’re free to find a better car wash somewhere else.
That said, it doesn’t make sense to change service providers only to end up with worse service elsewhere. That’s why learning how to choose an auditor is so important; pay special attention when switching CPA firms to these key areas:
- Organization — Is the new CPA firm organized? Are they prepared with document requests that demonstrate they’re ready to take on your financial statement preparation?
- Communication — Do your new auditors communicate clearly and promptly? How responsive are they to your questions?
- Timeline — Does the new CPA firm’s timeline match up with your organization’s needs? Do the staff members seem committed to completing your engagement by the agreed-upon deadlines?
Switching CPA firms should be a smooth process that ultimately adds value to your organization. Finding a firm that is professional, organized, communicative, and builds a healthy relationship with your team can be a difficult process, though well worth it in the end. Any CPA firm can perform financial services, but few create an enjoyable experience.
You can start making steps toward getting better value by calling us or sending us an RFP. Our friendly auditors can help you figure out what your organization’s goals are and whether we can be of service.