Monday, 26 July 2010

Accountants: Love Them Or Hate Them?

Accountants update

Just been to the CIMA Accountants In Practice Annual Bash. And jolly good it was too.

Here are a couple of accountancy bits for your perusal


49 comments:

Christopher said...

Still trying to figure out if you love them or hate them!
Chris

Peter von E said...

You need different functions from your accountant. it depends where your business is in the life cycle growing, harvesting, selling etc.

You need someone you trust. MOST accountants have poor social skills and as a result the trust is rarely created. However, NOT ALL. Some do 'get it' and see the picture. Loads talk the talk but few really deliver.

I would love to be an accountant because I would stand head and shoulders above the rubbish that generally exists.

What an opportunity.


Peter

Anonymous said...

hate

David Lewis said...

As Peter von E says it depends on the life cycle of the business as different accountants have different skills.

The government have asked for suggestions as to how finance can be made more easily available to businesses. Funders are unlikely to provide finance if they are not convinced that the business has skills to deliver the business plan....

Whilst there are undoubtedly some good all round accountants, others have more specific skills - if they try and be "all things to all men" then the client suffers.

There comes a time in a business's life cycle where they need to employ an accountant. Before that stage they can outsource flexible financial maangement support. This usually does not replace the outside accountancy firm but instead provides different skills.

Peter von E said...

The trouble is that we don't know what we don't know.

Marjory D said...

It is time that the industry contemplated its navel and figured out and then understood why it is so highly derided.

madge

Unknown said...

Love Peter von E's comment of "Don't know what we don't know" and that's so true.

I recently did some market research regarding accountancy qualifications and the main headline was that 75% didn't know what qualifications their accountant had. Quite worry when anyone can call themselves an accountant. You can read more at www.find-me-an-accountant.com

Regards
Maxine

GI said...

often love what they do but hate how they do it but wouldn't ever be in business without one.

Marjory D said...

But most just don't understand the most fundamental of business basics: courtesy, understanding, marketing, strategy, psychology.

and that is why we resent them.

Madge

RH said...

Hi Robert, looks like everyone is too scared to answer- maybe worried that their accountant will double their fees?!

We like the forward thinking accountants that see the value in Cloud Accounting, using remote access to reduce cost for end users and making it all so much easier.

There are still some of the old school, head in the sand brigade too, but they're just resistant to change and it's up to their clients, the SMEs to apply the pressure to change.

Gerry A said...

In our quiet moments we (accountants) will confess that we believe ourselves to be good for our clients. Whether we are good at running businesses is a different matter.

We could use some of your non-accountant lingo and attitude because we are, by definition, unable to see the entrepreneurial side of the fence. We are more aking to bankers than business owners in our systems, processes. and thinking.

So you may have something here if we read between the lines, extrapolate and guess where you are trying to take this.

LJ said...

If they could only get their acts together!

Mark Lee said...

I love 'em. I used to be one.

I sympathise with those who have had a bad experience or two with accountants. There is all too often a perception gap. This is best evidenced by asking the typical client what he most wants from his accountant - and asking the accountant what element of his service he thinks is most valued by his client. Even when I'm speaking to audiences of accountants the correct answer is rarely on the tip of their tongues.

Here's a clue. Within my portfolio career I help accountants source specialist tax advice through Tax Advice Network and we produce a (free to register) weekly practical tax update especially for accountants in general practice.

Clients want to pay less tax and few of them want fancy schemes. They simply expect their accountant to help ensure they pay the least they can legally get away with. And they want to avoid hassle from the taxman (or other officials). I often find myself reminding accountants of this. It's important.

Jean-Pierre said...

In the perfect accountant's world all costs would be driven to zero. Of course sales would also collapse. See later post about customer service being better than cost savings...
J-P

Anonymous said...

I never quite understand Robert's relationship with accountants. Does he love or hate them? Or is he just intrigued by them? Or jealous? We know his father sent him to university to become one. So what is the problem?

Martin Bown said...

As a CIMA qualified accountant myself, with almost 20 years experience in industry and now 18 months into the adventure that is my own accountancy business, I can totally understand why many business owners do no more than “tolerate” their accountant.

I also seem to have been inundated with marketing messages over the 18 months to sell “value add” services alongside my core “accounting services”. Given my background, I don’t view these “value add” services as anything other than essential to running a business. I wrote something recently about this on my blog http://tinyurl.com/32azkcp

The problem with this marketing message is twofold. Traditional accountancy firms – there are plenty out there – treat “value added services” as something they can save for a rainy day. Meanwhile they’re clients, desperate for valuable and ongoing business support, are simply building resentment at the minimal service and high annual fees.

Of course, because of this reputation, many business owners actually don’t appreciate that there are accountants who will deliver more than just the compliance work, and so don’t think to ask for more support. It's a downward spiral.

If they only knew how to unlock it, they have the potential to be loved!

Martin

Greg Neall said...

Accountants might be loved more if they offered services integrated with those of a financial planner.

If you plan what the client should realistically expect with their agreement, they are less likely to be disappointed by the outcome.

Posted by a Chartered Financial Planner. Obviously.

Noel Cooper said...

Sounds like a new posting:

Accountants might be loved more if they: " ? "

Noel

Anonymous said...

hate

Unknown said...

What Entrepreneurs Want From Their Accountants - Real Business http://bit.ly/aGrYDW

Unknown said...

To answer the queries.

My father sent me to university to become an accountant.

I think that the profession has a huge potential to do so much more for their clients - sweeping generalisation!! So, they short-change their clients and they short-change themselves.

I hate it when people whinge about their accountants. The industry has failed in marketing itself properly as have many of their members.

What a great opportunity!!!

Andrew said...

I am sure this will illicit a repsone or do I mean backlash.

Andrew

Unknown said...

new article...
http://realbusiness.co.uk/finance_and_banking/what_entrepreneurs_want_from_their_accountants

Mark Humblestone said...

You are repeating yourself.

Unknown said...

oops

Richard W said...

No response. Surprising or maybe they are too busy on the old abacus.

Anonymous said...

The billable hour is not dead, but many people would like to kill it - The Economist http://bit.ly/9zse32

Linda B said...

The accountants should look no further than the 30 Day Challenge for a classic piece of disrupruptive marketing
http://robert-craven.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-robert-craven-30-day-challenge.html

Linda

PS I seem to be repeating myself!!!

James McK said...

Accountants or any other PSF will find all this of interest. Although we think our own profession is unique, there are business fundamentals that we share with others that sell advice of one form or another.

Steve said...

Suggest you all look at
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/robert-craven-right-when-he-says-clients-should-sack-their-accountant/478984

where the argument gets to another level

Steve

Anonymous said...

SORRY BUT THE THOUGHT POLICE HAVE CLOSED YOU DOWN

Unknown said...

see Monty Python on the subject
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOmB1q8W4Y

Colim said...

Enough of the old bean counters. It is a losing battle. 99% will not see what is going on.

Colin with an n said...

PS The thought police have re-opened the AccountingWeb page

Colin with an n said...

Just saw
http://robert-craven.blogspot.com/2011/01/change-your-entire-business-it-takes.html
which should set the cat amoung the pigeons.

Colin with an n said...

Just saw
http://robert-craven.blogspot.com/2011/01/change-your-entire-business-it-takes.html
which should set the cat amoung the pigeons.

Anonymous said...

The billable hour is not dead, but many people would like to kill it - The Economist http://bit.ly/9zse32

Colim said...

Enough of the old bean counters. It is a losing battle. 99% will not see what is going on.

Anonymous said...

SORRY BUT THE THOUGHT POLICE HAVE CLOSED YOU DOWN

Noel Cooper said...

Sounds like a new posting:

Accountants might be loved more if they: " ? "

Noel

Greg Neall said...

Accountants might be loved more if they offered services integrated with those of a financial planner.

If you plan what the client should realistically expect with their agreement, they are less likely to be disappointed by the outcome.

Posted by a Chartered Financial Planner. Obviously.

Martin Bown said...

As a CIMA qualified accountant myself, with almost 20 years experience in industry and now 18 months into the adventure that is my own accountancy business, I can totally understand why many business owners do no more than “tolerate” their accountant.

I also seem to have been inundated with marketing messages over the 18 months to sell “value add” services alongside my core “accounting services”. Given my background, I don’t view these “value add” services as anything other than essential to running a business. I wrote something recently about this on my blog http://tinyurl.com/32azkcp

The problem with this marketing message is twofold. Traditional accountancy firms – there are plenty out there – treat “value added services” as something they can save for a rainy day. Meanwhile they’re clients, desperate for valuable and ongoing business support, are simply building resentment at the minimal service and high annual fees.

Of course, because of this reputation, many business owners actually don’t appreciate that there are accountants who will deliver more than just the compliance work, and so don’t think to ask for more support. It's a downward spiral.

If they only knew how to unlock it, they have the potential to be loved!

Martin

Mark Lee (Chairman of the Tax said...

I love 'em. I used to be one.

I sympathise with those who have had a bad experience or two with accountants. There is all too often a perception gap. This is best evidenced by asking the typical client what he most wants from his accountant - and asking the accountant what element of his service he thinks is most valued by his client. Even when I'm speaking to audiences of accountants the correct answer is rarely on the tip of their tongues.

Here's a clue. Within my portfolio career I help accountants source specialist tax advice through Tax Advice Network and we produce a (free to register) weekly practical tax update especially for accountants in general practice.

Clients want to pay less tax and few of them want fancy schemes. They simply expect their accountant to help ensure they pay the least they can legally get away with. And they want to avoid hassle from the taxman (or other officials). I often find myself reminding accountants of this. It's important.

Gerry A said...

In our quiet moments we (accountants) will confess that we believe ourselves to be good for our clients. Whether we are good at running businesses is a different matter.

We could use some of your non-accountant lingo and attitude because we are, by definition, unable to see the entrepreneurial side of the fence. We are more aking to bankers than business owners in our systems, processes. and thinking.

So you may have something here if we read between the lines, extrapolate and guess where you are trying to take this.

RH said...

Hi Robert, looks like everyone is too scared to answer- maybe worried that their accountant will double their fees?!

We like the forward thinking accountants that see the value in Cloud Accounting, using remote access to reduce cost for end users and making it all so much easier.

There are still some of the old school, head in the sand brigade too, but they're just resistant to change and it's up to their clients, the SMEs to apply the pressure to change.

Maxine said...

Love Peter von E's comment of "Don't know what we don't know" and that's so true.

I recently did some market research regarding accountancy qualifications and the main headline was that 75% didn't know what qualifications their accountant had. Quite worry when anyone can call themselves an accountant. You can read more at www.find-me-an-accountant.com

Regards
Maxine

Peter von E said...

The trouble is that we don't know what we don't know.

Peter von E said...

You need different functions from your accountant. it depends where your business is in the life cycle growing, harvesting, selling etc.

You need someone you trust. MOST accountants have poor social skills and as a result the trust is rarely created. However, NOT ALL. Some do 'get it' and see the picture. Loads talk the talk but few really deliver.

I would love to be an accountant because I would stand head and shoulders above the rubbish that generally exists.

What an opportunity.


Peter

DC said...

Two RC blog postings here from the future...
http://robert-craven.blogspot.com/2011/03/accountants-ostriches-and-insane.html and work your way through the comments and links

and also (if you have time)

http://robert-craven.blogspot.com/2011/02/clients-should-sack-their-accountants.html