ED Magedson – Founder
Farm business consultants91 Cornelia Street West, smiths falls, Ontario Canada
Farm business consultants FBC Very poor service, incompetence, extremely expensive smiths falls Ontario
As a new farmer, I was looking for a good accountant to help me navigate the tax system and understand it better. FBC's service looked good because you can call them up as much as you want for a flat fee. HOWEVER, their service is based on a pushy salesman showing up at taxtime who won't actually process your return until you pay the next years fees. The way it is presented puts a lot of pressure on you, by bringing in the idea of "audit protection". So here's the deal for any new business people out there:
Really, you need to get to know how to do your books and how your accounting system works. The best way to do that is with a consistent accountant (the SAME person EVERY year), who will work with you so you can do as much of it as possible, and they are there to catch the mistake. It's much better to engage someone on an hourly basis who can come in when you need them (i.e. lives nearby). An independent, home-based accountant is MUCH BETTER than any company IMO.
FBC sent a different person each year to do my taxes, three in total. I don't believe that any of them were certified accountants, and in one case, the young man had simply had the minimum training required by FBC to collect their clients info. He worked for them for a few months, and then he was laid off! These guys had very little experience with specific farm programs, how partnerships work, or what my particular situation was. Each year, the new FBC rep would literally talk sh*t about the last person they sent, and explain how that person was fired for being such a bad representative of the company. In case any of you FBC reps are reading this, it DOES NOT make you look good if you are always deriding the people who used to work for you. A little quality control in hiring and in training is obviously required.
Each year they did my taxes, there were several large mistakes which affected my pocketbook directly. For two separate calendar years, they claimed that half of my revenue came from 'resale of purchased goods'. Thankfully I caught it when I looked in detail at the return. This is a critical mistake, as I am a market gardener - my reputation and my permit to sell at the local market depend on me producing 100% of what I sell, which is the case. The nutjobs at FBC just seemed to pick, willy-nilly, which category they applied my income in.
IN a farmers case, with the agri-invest program, it also means I qualified for far less money from the government at the end of the year, which is how I discovered the mistake. I did resolve it in the end, but it took a ton of phone calls and chasing various people around. Again, it's frustrating having to talk to so many different people who have no idea what my particular situation is. Especially when you're paying big bucks for an all-encompassing service.
They also repeatedly screwed up how my spouse and I filed our taxes, in terms of income splitting. Again, the subsequent reps blamed the previous reps for any mistakes, as if that makes me feel any better. This also required months of follow up, late filing fees, and a general feeling of uneasiness on my part that I was dealing with people who had no idea what they were doing, and no particular care for my situation.
Finally, I think it is a mistake to ever go with a company instead of an individual to get your accounting done properly. I have now found a local guy who lives around the corner and is a chartered accountant. I pay him by the hour and I have already learned so much more about my own books and my own system than with my two years with FBC. So my advice is to avoid them like the plague and find an independent nearby who gives a **** about you. You'll never spend more going that way then you would with FBC.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/03/2014 12:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Farm-business-consultants/smiths-falls-Ontario/Farm-business-consultants-FBC-Very-poor-service-incompetence-extremely-expensive-smiths-1120497. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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