How You Can Reduce Your Clients’ Business Spend

31st Jul 2020
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Accountants can do plenty to help

There’s no doubt that times are tough for businesses at the moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the economy incredibly hard, and even with restrictions now lifting it’s going to take quite a while to coax us back towards our old purchasing habits.

The good news is there’s plenty that accountants can do to help their clients in saving money and reduce their business spend during these challenging times and beyond.

Switch and save

As your client’s trusted business accountant, you can play a part in reducing their costs by helping them to review the services they buy. You can also help them to switch to cheaper suppliers where possible.

There are a couple of ways that this can be done. You could take the traditional route of manually comparing suppliers yourself, or you could use a cloud-integrated tool to do the comparison for you (Myriad can advise on this if required).

If you’re doing it yourself, we suggest you start by devising a spreadsheet to collate each spend area, together with contract end date and current costs. Knowing the contract end date is important as your clients will likely not be able to switch early without incurring a hefty termination fee (not helpful for cash flow).

As a rule of thumb, it’s good to compare around six suppliers for every one of your client’s spend areas. Check the terms of any contracts too so that your client doesn’t end up stuck with a bad deal. Once you’ve made your shortlist of potential suppliers, see if you can negotiate costs and terms for maximum benefit. Once that’s done, your client just needs to sign a new contract and the switchover can start.

How else can I help to reduce my clients’ business spending?

In addition to the above, there are plenty of ways that you can save your clients some much needed cash. Some are obvious and others are less so - here we’ve listed a few ideas.

1. Point out where your client can save some money on your time

Obviously as an accountancy firm you don’t want to talk yourself out of business. But if a client is really struggling and you can see they’re paying for things that they could really do themselves then it’s a good idea to point these out. After all, and if your client goes under entirely then you can kiss goodbye to any future business from them.

For example, could they collate their own self-assessment tax return? Or is there a way they could tidy up their bookkeeping practices so they don’t need to pay you to do it for them?

These kinds of things can all reduce accountancy fees in the short term - and your clients will certainly thank you for it.

2. Point them in the direction of niche tax specialists

As a competent, flexible business accountant you’ll already have a lot on your plate. From panicked clients with various emergencies to general accounting and the January rush, you’ll have knowledge in pretty much every tax area.

But there’s no doubt that some areas of tax law are very niche - one of which is R&D Tax Credits. Don’t be tempted to charge your clients for a basic service here, as you may find it hard to give them the most accurate, tailored advice. Instead, if your client’s company has engaged in any innovative research and development work recently, encourage them to speak to an R&D tax specialist like ourselves at Myriad Associates. We can then guide them through their claim, while you focus on everything else. Or, if you’d prefer to stay in the picture, we can work alongside both yourself and your client together if you wish.

It’s a much more effective and efficient use of your client’s cash, and they’ll receive a better service too. You may find a blog we wrote recently for our sister site, Tax Cloud, useful here: Easy Mistakes That Accountancy Firms Make Regarding R&D Tax Credits.

3. Make sure you know what COVID-19 financial schemes are still available

Over the course of the last few months, the government has offered a raft of measures to help support both businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis. However, some of these schemes have recently been updated so keeping abreast of things is important. For this reason, we strongly encourage accountancy firms to regularly check the government’s Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage. Don’t let your clients miss out on support they may be entitled to.

4. Encourage your clients not to leave things to the last minute - especially year end accounts!

If the really essential stuff like year ends are left until the last minute, potentially your client won’t have time to do it all properly. Getting together expenses or rounding up overdue invoices is more likely to be left to you as their accountant, which of course is chargeable. Of course, many of your clients are always spot on time or early, and you will know who they are. So if time is getting on and one of them still hasn’t filed then give them a nudge. You definitely don’t want them to end up with late filing penalties.

What Myriad Associates is doing to help accountants and businesses

The R&D tax and funding specialists at Myriad Associates have many years’ experience in helping companies access the money they need to grow. Whether it’s R&D Tax Credits, R&D grant funding or Video Games Tax Relief, we will work alongside businesses and accountants on identifying what’s appropriate. We can then offer guidance in making an accurate, fully optimised application - without the hassle. Plus, as we only work in R&D funding, you know you and your clients are receiving the best service possible.

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss anything we’ve addressed in this article, including R&D Tax Credits and funding options, then please do call our friendly team 0207 118 6045. Alternatively, you may wish to use our contact form and one of us will call you back.