Have you ever felt as though you want to get more out of your accountant? Well, you’re not alone. Our surveying has revealed that some 62% of SMEs think their accountant is a poor communicator and 71% of SMEs criticise their accountant for being completely reactive.
So, if that’s your situation, how do you handle it and how do you get more out of your accountant?
- Tell them what you want
Lots of SMEs would appreciate some advice from their accountant. But if the brief is ‘do my tax’, then that’s exactly what you will get. So, be clear about your expectations and if you want more, you’re going to have to tell them!
- Create a forum for advice
Book regular interactions with your accountant. Quarterly or monthly is usually enough. The agenda can include items like outright performance, performance against budget (or other benchmarks) and topical issues that have arisen. Leave room for Q & A and perhaps cycle through special topics like improving cash flow, efficient use of working capital and scaling right.
- Ask Specific Questions
Asking specific questions is a good way to create focus on the issues that are important to you and references the specific expertise of your accountant. For example, asking “What can we do to pay less tax?” tells your accountant that’s an issue you are focused on and forces him or her to think about what you could do differently to get a better tax outcome.
- Ask Searching Questions
Asking searching questions draws your accountant into your world and forces him or her to reference tacit knowledge. For example, ask “What 1 thing should I stop doing?” and you’re sure to get a valuable answer. Ask “What would you do to improve my cash flow?” or “Tell me what I can learn from a client whose growth impresses you” and you are sure to open up a whole new conversation.
- Get them involved in budgeting
Now, here’s something they should be good at! Getting your accountant involved in the budgeting process forces him or her to think about how your business works and how the numbers come together. That level of understanding bodes well for your future discussions and the value you will derive.
- Give them a reputation
It’s amazing how a person will strive to live up to their reputation. Introduce your accountant to the receptionist/anyone and say “Anne, have you met Sue? She is our business adviser and we’ll be seeing a bit more of her around here, she is going to help us to get this place humming.” Watch Sue switch straight into adviser mode and do everything she can to live up to her awesome new reputation!
So, there you have it – 6 ways to get your accountant to give you more. Give it a go and good luck!