My tax accountant has fired me

Several months ago, I got a letter from the accounting firm where I’ve had my taxes (personal, and home-based business) done for the past couple of years stating that they could no longer provide this service for me any more, and the reason they gave was that they couldn’t guarantee that they could get it done within the allotted time frame.

That’s strange to me, because I always brought everything in as soon as I had the paperwork, and picked it up and paid promptly when it was ready. Anyway, I have an appointment with another firm next week to get it done, and I might ask about it then.

Has anyone else here ever experienced anything like that, from either side? I just thought that this particular accountant wasn’t going to do what I needed any more, but I called them today and nope, that firm won’t provide services for me any more, period.

I’ve never used an accounting firm. I’m wondering if they are short of people (so many businesses are) and they are focusing on the larger, better-paying clients. Or maybe they got a new huge client who is taking up most of their resources.

Those are the only things I can think of where it isn’t personally directed at you.

Those make sense. I didn’t THINK I’d done anything wrong.

I had the same thing happen to me, but there was no mystery about it.

Back when I was an independent consultant and struggling with taxes and business deductions and such, someone recommended an accountant. I was impressed the first time I met him – he was incredibly knowledgeable, and judging from his palatial offices, obviously very successful. He did my taxes for a number of years and never really charged very much for what I thought was a fantastic job. Obviously, I wasn’t the one paying for his original oil paintings and upscale furniture.

Then one year I got a letter from him saying frankly that he was looking to minimize his workload as he headed into retirement and would be limiting his work to a few large clients. Fortunately, this happened just around the time that I went back to salaried employment and my taxes got simple again, so it all worked out.

For many years, I was Treasurer for a fairly small non-profit (assets $1.8 million, annual income $250,000-$300,000). I got a fairly similar notice from our long-term accounting firm – they were too busy with bigger clients at the normal tax due date, so the only way they would keep us as a client was if they could file for an extension for us, and then file our actual tax return later in the summer, during their slow time.

Since we owed no taxes, as a non-profit organization, I agreed to this. It made no big difference to us, and I liked working with that firm. The main guy we worked with was a specialist, very Knowle gable on charities & non-profits (which was why they had picked up some bigger clients, and had to delay our returns).

There are a lot of consultants to professional firms who will say “don’t be afraid to cull the worst 10% of your clients every year “.

But before you feel personally insulted, the criteria for “worst” would cover everything from being a PITA right through to not being particularly profitable or not fitting with their specialty.

In other words their motivation is probably not at all personal.

I’m on the boards or finance committee of several non-profits and the smaller ones often have accountants, investment managers and even law firms “fire” them either because they want to concentrate on larger clients or because they are getting out of the non-profit business altogether.

Very often this was a bad fit in the first place but someone on the board or the executive director had some social or professional connection to the firm. Then that specific person leaves, and the accounting, law or investment firm is wondering, “Why do we have this client which generates only $10,000 in fees a year?” And the disengagement letter soon follows.

News item: Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, just fired Trump.

Welcome to the club!

Be honest, @nearwildheaven, are you Donald Trump?

I’m guessing not:

Perfect example of why we need a “Like” button.

A few years ago our accountant of 20ish years abruptly “fired us” as clients. No explanation. We were not at all a big client so we chalked it up to not being a “big enough” client.

Update: I met with my new accountant this afternoon, and he said you folks were probably correct about the old firm. He did speak very well of that firm, I should add.

I dropped my personal and business paperwork off with him, and one of the first things he told me is that I MAY NEED TO FILE AN EXTENSION. That’s right, 2 months before April 15th, and he can already see this coming. At least he let me know upfront.

It’s happened to my husband and me. We used to go to a one-person firm, and when she moved, she recommended that we use a specific, much larger company. (A few years later she returned and wanted our business again, but we didn’t feel like transferring back to her.)

Can I ask a question?

Why do you say that he “fired” you, when you were the one paying him? Shouldn’t you say he quit?

Professional service providers (accountants, architects, engineers, designers, financial consultants, etc.) often refer to terminating relations with a client as “firing” them. It’s more in jest than anything. While the client did hire the professional, and the client can fire them, it seems only fair for the professional to also be able to fire the client, so to speak. It’s more satisfying to say it that way than “we terminated our contract with them.”

Almost exactly the same thing with us. When our independent CPA decided to go to become a partner in a larger firm, she dropped all her little clients and pushed us over to a junior member of the firm. The firm charged much more for his time than the much more experienced CPA ever charged for hers, so we moved on after a couple of years.

My tax guy fired me because of more work than he could handle while going through cancer treatment. His letter simply stated that he was keeping his longer-term and bigger clients, so I should not be offended. I wasn’t offended at all. Good on him for recognizing his limitations and telling me the why of it.