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Management accounts reporting to clients

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Hi All,

IMO, it is as important as ever that us accountants (when undertaking the book-keeping for clients) provide our clients with sufficient financial information rather than the old school approach of heres your vat return to approve, see you next quarter. I feel this is particularly important with the introduction of bank feeds/receipt bank etc. which may result in the clients feeling the provision of book-keeping on a VAT return only basis is not as difficult or important (if they could possibly do it themselves) as it used to be.

In light of the above, I would be interested to hear what approach you all take with regard to reporting to clients. I appreciate it will depend on the fee you have quoted and thus the time available and the size/type of client.

A minimum requirement would be to send P & L / Balance sheet / DLA review/ estimate of corp tax (and possibly personal tax) but how much additional detail are you providing?

e.g. A restaurant - do you have a summary page showing comparisions to previous years. GP%/wage%/Purchases%? Would you go as far as providing them with takings per week day/week-end?

Any other ideas?


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By Manchester_man
12th Mar 2020 09:18

I don’t have a standard approach, I gauge each client individually. For the clients who take an interest, I will provide (say) the quarter’s P&L showing margins as %. I’ll show a comparison to both the previous quarter and the same quarter last year, then I’ll probably provide a balance sheet but will also provide a set of charts / graphs showing trends, which seem to be more easily understood by clients. For some, I use Spotlight.

Others prefer me to talk through the results. For example, I saw a client on Tuesday and took with me a lovely colourful Spotlight report. At the end, after talking him through the various KPIs, margins, etc. I suggested leaving the reports (Xero P&L and balance sheet plus spotlight report) with him and he replied jokingly but honestly “oh no, I won’t look at them, too complicated for me - as long as we are on track, I’m happy”.

Other clients, I will email them basic P&L, debtors and creditors.

For my few contractor clients, who ‘had’ very simple balance sheets, I used to explain every figure on the balance sheet and they largely understood. They were very good clients in the main, however the handful I had are now ‘no more’.

There are some great reporting add-ons available, but most are way too expensive for it to be feasible. I find that with the likes of Spotlight, I end up signing up as a ‘business only’ rather than an accountant, as they all seem to want to sell you blocks of 20 or similar, which is often 18/19 too many.

I wish Xero would improve their management reporting packs, then we could solely use that.

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By SXGuy
12th Mar 2020 09:20

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said "I appreciate it will depend on the fee you have quoted and thus the time available and the size/type of client."

And that is exactly the main point, the level of detail depends on, a)what the client wants, b) the size of the client, c) the fee they are willing to pay.

Blanket approach to providing more data because any old joe can file a vat return imo is not a cost effective way to run a business. Why would you spend more time doing work the client is either not interested in or not willing to pay for?

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By johnt27
12th Mar 2020 10:44

Clients get what they pay for and I cross/upsell whenever I can

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