You might think accountants are all the same…
Well, there are certain things you can expect as standard such as treating you courteously, filing your tax returns on time, delivering the services that they promise.
Or you would think this would be the case. Not always.
I was chatting recently to someone who said their former accountant had fallen short on all 3 of these points. This saddened me greatly because it gives my profession a bad name, it’s unnecessary and it’s NOT behaviour you have to put up with.
So if that’s at the bottom end of the scale of 0 to 10, what is it that sets a good accountant apart from the rest?
These are 7 things you can expect…
- They should be in REGULAR communication with you
REGULAR in capitals, because communication on its own is normal, nothing special, and perhaps not something that would make us stand out as an accountant above any other.
We keep in REGULAR contact with our clients; sometimes we just need information from them, and sometimes we just want to check in and see how they’re doing.
And likewise, we encourage our clients to keep in touch with us…even if it’s just to say hi!
The more we know about how they’re getting on, and what’s happening in their business, the more we can help them.
What they say to us might just result in us being able to make a few useful suggestions…you never know! Opportunities come from connection.
- They’ll bang your drum whenever they can
If you’re our client, we’re going to promote your business as often as we can.
Every day we talk to different people…not just at work, but at the weekends when we’re off doing the things we love.
If someone happens to say they are looking for someone to do something for them, we instantly think of our clients and try and promote their services.
This is a free bit of marketing for you…and we’re always happy to keep some of your business cards to give out whenever the opportunity arises.
Plus we love to think our clients would recommend us in the same way!
- They will only offer you the services you need
Have you ever walked into a car showroom to buy a car and the salesman tries to add on extra things? You know, like paint protector, a service plan, GAP insurance? You don’t need them, they’re optional; but you could choose them if you value them.
When we speak to a potential client, we ask lots of questions…the reason for this is so that we can offer you the services you NEED to stay compliant, and to help your business.
We walk you through the services so you can understand what is involved, but we will never try and sell you something that we don’t think you will need.
We want to work with you long term and help you to be as successful and profitable as possible.
- They will be tech savvy
Cloud software makes everything so much easier. You can save both time and money by embracing the many options available.
These are just some of the advantages…
- Email your invoices and statements to your clients – no postage costs
- Upload receipts through an app – no time wasted dropping them off with your accountant
- Link your bank accounts to your software – instant visibility on cash
- See your finance reports instantly – no more having to wait for your accountant to show you your profit and loss statement
We know it can be scary using a new bit of software at first, but we walk you through it and before you know it, you’ll wonder how you coped without it before.
Technology is not going away, so if you really don’t want to embrace it, we might not be the best accountant for you. But there are accountants out there who can help you.
- They will work to client deadlines over and above legal deadlines
We all have deadlines to meet…for accountants the most important ones to protect you from are HMRC deadlines.
We manage this for you, but we work on client deadlines as a priority, as we set these far in advance of HMRC deadlines.
For example, if your year end is 31 March, we would aim to get everything completed as soon after 31 March as we can (as long as you have given us all the info we need).
That way you know what tax you have to pay…and the earlier you know this, the better!
But something else to think about is having the latest filed accounts available in case you are asked for them.
If you are looking to sell your business, or even if you aren’t but someone approaches you about it, they will ask to see a copy of your most recent set of accounts. So if you are 6 months past your year end date and your accounts are still not completed and filed, the most recent set you can give them will be from the previous year. And they’ll be 18 months old. A buyer will know that a lot might have changed within those 18 months.
And if you need to look at funding to purchase some equipment or a vehicle, the finance company will want to see your latest accounts also to decide if you are likely to be able to repay the money or not.
So the more current your filed accounts are, the more prepared you are.
- They will chase you for information they need
You might think this is a strange one to include, but it’s one of the most important and beneficial things your accountant can do if they don’t have all the info they need.
For example…any missing receipts or bank feeds that haven’t been updated create a kind of ‘pause’ in your accounts, which means the data in your accounting software may not be current.
If the data isn’t current, you can easily start to lose track of your available cash for purchases, or you may not know if your customers have paid you or not, and you wouldn’t want to chase them for payment if they’ve already paid (trust me, I’ve done this once before, and I certainly won’t do it a second time…slightly embarrassing!).
It can also delay completing your tax return, so you would then have less time to plan and pay any tax you need to.
So although it might not feel nice to be chased, know that they have your best interests at heart.
- They will be your tribe
You know that feeling when you meet people and they just ‘get’ you and you have a connection?
Yeah…they’re your tribe…your kind of people! And when you meet us, we want you to think that about us.
Every day we get to work with clients who we genuinely love working with…and we hope they love working with us too. But we also work with suppliers who ‘get’ us…so it comes full circle.
If you already have an accountant that just ‘gets’ you and they understand you, stay with them…don’t move elsewhere just because someone is cheaper.
It’s all about the connection!
These 7 things are the reason our clients love to work with us. They are deeply embedded in the way we work with them. It means that we add value to their businesses by keeping on top of their accounts, heading off any niggles before they become real problems, and keeping them fully compliant.
If you don’t feel you are getting anything like this from your current accountant, or that they’re perhaps not even giving you the basics, find one that will.
Better still, head on over to our contact form to get in touch with us to find out if we can be the accountant to deliver these 7 things to you!