What makes a good accountant?
A survey of SME’s views on their accountants by Accountancy Daily quoted:
“80% of businesses have an accountant but 70% would not recommend their choice.”
This highlights that in many cases there is a clear mismatch in what clients expect and what they are getting from their accountant.
An accountant can be an integral and valuable partner when running a business and it is this key relationship most clients are seeking. However while accountants may share the same job title not all accountants work in the same manner. When engaging with an accountant it can be difficult to tell from the outset if they are a good fit so here are some questions to consider when considering a new accountant:
1. Do they have the knowledge and understanding to keep you compliant but also make your business run efficiently
Every chartered accountant will have strong technical knowledge, we study hard to qualify, and once qualified part of our membership is to keep up to date through continuing professional development.
A good accountant not only has these credentials, but they will take this knowledge and apply it to your business, helping you to understand business decisions and how these affect the numbers.
2. Will they put your needs first and tailor their approach
Rather than adopting a blanket approach to all clients a good accountant will appreciate that every client is different, be it by industry, experience running a business, or expectation.
They will be able to gain an understanding of what you want plus what you need and work with you to deliver services accordingly.
3. Are they pro-active rather than reactive
By the nature of what we do, many accountants often meet clients after the financial year has finished. In this scenario a lot of time is spent looking at historical figures.
A good accountant will recognise that this is not sufficient and operate a different approach.
Firstly, they will take time to get to know your business and understand key areas. Then they are clear on exactly what you want and the path they need to take.
Secondly, they will help implement technology and apps to give you accurate and frequent financial information to ensure your business is on track.
And finally, they will help you access and interpret the figures so that you can make better business decisions.
4. Are they approachable
Frictions in the accounting relationship can happen for many reasons. It can be the accountant’s approach, the clients’ lack of understanding of where their business is, or lack of interest in the accounts and tax side of the business.
A good accountant is approachable, they will be at the end of the phone when needed. They will encourage you to ask questions and challenge the information being presented to you. A great accountant may not give you the answer that you want but will give you the answer you need.
5. Do they want to build Trust
All qualified accountants have professional ethics that they have to adhere to but you must be able to trust your accountant and have faith that you are getting the best advice for your business. This comes with good communication and a commitment from both sides.
The goal is for your accountant to be a trusted advisor who has a grasp of your business’ financial position and future strategy. They should feature as a key part of your management team.
At Bright Vision Accountancy we know it is important to work with clients for whom we can deliver. It is true for most things that one size does not fit all and it is most definitely true for accountants and businesses.
From the outset we work on a clear and transparent basis with our clients. We focus on clients’ goals and ensure there is clear visibility of what services we are delivering, how these are performed and the cost.
By working with business owners who are engaged in this process and through regular review we aim to ensure everyone is happy with the outcomes. We are honest if we don’t feel that we are the right choice for a business and offer direction where we can.
If you are unsure and would some advice or if you would like to know more about how we work with our clients please get in touch.