You may be surprised to learn that there are different types of accountants. Each has their own interests, specialties, personalities and price ranges. There are Jacks-of-All Trades Accountants; P&L (Prepare & Lodge) Accountants; CSI Accountants (the crime scene type that are right into forensics); and then there are Business Success Accountants. These are accountants who have a genuine love of business and instinctively look for opportunities for businesses to be the best they can be.
One thing is for certain, if you are to succeed in business you will need a certain type of accountant who will play a pivotal role.
Naturally, this professional needs to be qualified, but there are other attributes that you’ll need to consider when choosing or changing your accountant. After all, this will be a long-term relationship, and once the initial engagement is over it needs to become a strong marriage. One that has honest and robust discussions, and you’ll even have differences of opinion. But let’s face it, big decisions need to be thrashed out.
But most importantly you need absolute trust.
Trust that the work is being done and done to the highest standard, and trust that your needs and best interests are ALWAYS served.
Here are just some of the attributes you should consider for your Business Success Accountant.
1: Professional Values
You should be absolutely sure that your accountant has integrity and works ‘above the line’. There is no such thing as ‘creative’ bookkeeping. It’s either legal or it’s not. Then there are values relating to customer service. Will your accountant believe in you, innovate with value, promise and deliver?
You don’t need to be best mates with your accountant, but it will certainly help if you and your accountant understand how the other ticks. You may be surprised to know that not all accountants are dull, bean counters as the stereotype would have you believe. While some business owners will value slow and steady as a direct contrast to their own inherent impatience, others need a personality that will match their pace and intensity.
3: Skills & Experience
While you should expect that all accountants are qualified, that’s not to say they are all highly skilled or experienced. For some accountants, it’s just a job rather than a vocation and often the quality of their work reflects this. Their work may be adequate but look closely and there’ll be no evidence of an innate interest in tackling the big issues that successful businesses commonly face. Testimonials, case studies and blog posts will indicate the higher-level skills and experience that your Business Success Accountant should have.
Does your accountant ask the questions you don’t know to ask? Find solutions to problems before they become issues? Develop such clear insight, that they have moved beyond proactive, to intuitive? These are just some of the X-factor qualities that Business Success Accountants offer those who aim to succeed in business.
Ah yes – fees! The old adage “You get what you pay for” is just as true for accounting services.
When you opt for cheap, you need to be prepared for limited service, limited expertise and limited outcomes.
Accountants who position themselves in this way, typically offer basic services and rely on high turnover of clients whose accounting requirements have little or no complexity.
And therein is the difference. In addition to the compliance hoops the Government needs you to jump through, growth oriented and successful businesses have inherent complexity and wide-ranging issues that need to be carefully integrated to create cohesive outcomes.
In short, there are a lot of accounting, tax planning and business advice hours involved in achieving a successful business. Your definition of fair fees and value for money will of course depend on many things including your view of the preceding list of attributes.
As I said at the start, your accountant is pivotal in your business success, and if you are seeking to choose a new accountant or change your existing accountant, your next steps would include:
- Re-evaluate your present needs, and what they are likely to be in future.
- Choose a professional who ‘gets you’ and is committed to helping you achieve your goals.
- And, if fees are a stumbling block, consider what you pay in terms of value, rather than opting for cheaper. Cheaper usually doesn’t provide a solution for value or achieves outcomes.
My team and I work with incredible businesses and the strength of those relationships is working collaboratively. Our close involvement in our clients’ financial management enables decisive decision making that minimises issues and capitalises opportunities.
If I can help you to succeed in business, please contact me on +61 2 9699 9171 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This information (including taxation) is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be personal advice on any particular matter. Make Cents Accounting strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information in this document, but should obtain appropriate professional advice based on their own personal circumstances.