Jitasa Nonprofit Blog

Communicating with Your Accountant

One problem accountants routinely run into with clients is a lack of communication. Without full and proper communication, an accountant isn’t able to do their job to the best of their ability. This can result in mutual frustrations, incorrect financial reporting, penalties, late fees and more. In an extreme case, this lack of communication can lead to a nonprofit actually losing their nonprofit status as well.

To avoid such consequences and make things easier for both sides, establish quality communication from the beginning your relationship.Below are some guidelines to help you communicate while maintaining a balance between both parties:

  • You can almost never send too much information, but try to consolidate some of the files. Your accountant would rather receive 5 emails with multiple files instead of 25 files with one file each. It also helps the accountant maintain control of their email and prevents the loss of files.
  • While email has become a preferred method of contact, remember that your accountant is available to communicate via phone. So don’t be afraid to call if you have something urgent to discuss or don’t understand something the accountant sent you.
  • Please don’t assume your accountant knows what it is you do. They can’t read your mind and, especially in the beginning, will need your help on understanding your activity. A heads up on big activity is a great help as well.
  • If you have questions or frustrations, let your accountant know sooner rather than later. This goes along with them not being able to read your mind. They won’t know if they’re doing something wrong, or missing a step you need them to complete if you don’t address the issue.
  • If you choose to email, make your correspondence clear and concise. Organize your thoughts and files prior to hitting send to avoid unnecessary follow up or incorrect entries.
  • Respond to emails from your accountant, even if it’s just an acknowledgment that the email was received. A simple email stating a timeframe of when you can reply fully is a great help.

Dawn Birdwell, Accountant for Jitasa

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