Here’s a question for you. What does your accountant really contribute to your business? I don’t just mean all that pen-pushing and form-filling to keep the taxman and Companies House happy. That should be just the beginning; but so often it’s the beginning and the end of the service that so many companies receive from their accountants. The sad truth is that too many small businesses accept this; not because they are satisfied with a second-rate service, but because they are unaware of what accountants can and should do for their clients.
It’s not actually rocket science. As accountants, we are privy to the inner-most workings of a company. We have all the data we need to be able to make a real difference; to identify problems and opportunities; to advise on cash-flow or investment strategies; to add real value to a business. So, why do so many accountancy practices seem content to act as ledger clerks?
Perhaps part of the answer is that their clients, like Oliver, should ask for more.
I’m afraid my clients don’t get a choice. Whether they like it or not, I care about their businesses and I see the accounts we produce for them as just the beginning of a journey which will take them from where they are now to where they want to be in a year, two years’ or five years’ time.
I’ll always insist on getting to know more about a business than just the numbers. What are the main obstacles to growth? Is it resource or time; cash or competitive pressure? What are your personal aspirations? Do you want to grow a business that can be handed down to your children, or one that you can leverage to support your retirement? It all matters and it all adds colour and meaning to a bald set of accounts. It also makes my job much more exciting.
So, beyond preparing all the statutory stuff, we can produce a complete performance measurement and improvement system which includes a confidential report analysing all your key numbers and comparing your performance to others in your industry. We can identify exactly where your strengths and weaknesses lie and suggest an action plan to improve your performance in each of those key areas. And we’ll even calculate the potential for extra sales, profits and cash that those improvements will generate for you over the next 12 months.
And, because our generosity knows no limits, we’ll present it to you in a stylish binder that will build into an encyclopaedia of all the numbers that really matter in your business.
So, take a tip from George Bernard Shaw, who said: “Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.”