Survey after survey have shown that accountants are the most valuable and trusted source of business advice for business owners. Of course, that’s not a surprise, because unlike other business professionals, accountants have (or should have) an unrivaled understanding of how your business operates, know the local market and other local businesses in similar fields as well have access to up-to-date benchmarking information.
Why then do most business owners just see their accountant just once or twice a year to deal with their Annual Financials and Tax Returns? Is it because they don’t want to improve their businesses, don’t need good systems to ensure their businesses run efficiently, don’t need regular, up-to-date and meaningful business information and don’t need to plan to reach their business goals? Or do they just have the misfortune to have chosen the wrong accountant who hasn’t got the time and lacks the interest to help their clients?
If any of this sounds familiar, you it’s not too late to do something about it. Your business is vitally important – it’s the source of livelihood for you (and your family), your future, and in many cases, the difference between making a reasonable living and financial ruin. So why then do so many business owners stay with their accountants out of a sense of misguided loyalty?
Over the years I have seen so many examples of poor service and advice from accountants including:
- Positively discouraging clients from getting their own systems and accounting software so that they can keep the bookkeeping and GST work themselves to maximise their fees.
- Giving their clients financial reports which suit the accountant but which are of no use to the client e.g. cash-based periodic Profit and Loss Accounts excluding Accounts Receivable and Payable and Inventory.
- Not providing the clients with any help to produce regular monthly or quarterly management accounts which are so important to business survival and success.
- Leaving their clients high and dry with poor systems which don’t talk to each other or not helping them choose good systems in the first place.
- Providing a very poor, impersonal service with very high, unjustified fee levels.
- When the clients do have their own accounting software, not ensuring that the data on the software is up to date and accurate e.g. reflecting the opening balances from the Annual Financials so it can be used for producing some useful management reports.
- Using raw recruits with no experience to learn on the job at the client’s expense.
I’m always surprised why experienced business owners who are otherwise so careful with their money put up with such mediocrity! In my next couple of posts I shall explore these issues further and cover what your accountant should be doing for you as well as how to choose the right accountant. In the meantime, if you need a good accountant call 0800 ASK NICK or get in touch by email.