What have Accountants done for us?

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I’m paraphrasing the famous Monty Python sketch “What have the Romans done for us?” because every Accountant in practice has been confronted by a prospective client who says “so what can you do for me?” In the Python sketch the answer starts with “the Aqueduct” and then the list goes on and on covering Sanitation, Roads, Medicine, Irrigation, Education, and Wine etc. So what do you say when confronted with this question because Accountants in Practice like the Romans can do so much.

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So what do services do Accountants routinely offer? Let’s start with Tax, that’s Personal Tax, Corporate Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, as well as Trusts which obviously includes all the advice and legitimate planning opportunities available as well as completing all and any forms and returns required and not forgetting making sure that such returns are completed and lodged on time ensuring no fines are levied.

Then of course there is Accounts we routinely prepare annual accounts, management accounts at whatever interval required not forgetting bookkeeping via various software platforms which includes help and advice when problems are encountered swiftly move on to Payroll not forgetting help with setting up and maintaining a workplace pension scheme and ensuring that clients don’t fall foul of employment legislation generally, including everything necessary to comply with RTI.

That’s enough surly? but then of course you remember we handle issues relating to Company Law including all necessary minutes and corporate returns and finally we deal with HMRC on behalf of our individual and corporate clients we handle all and every request for information or explanations requested by HMRC and any other government department for that matter and when the thorny issue of enquiries and investigations are encountered who do the clients call first?

I’ve just listed the headline services we offer but for me the defining service that we provide to all micro, small and medium businesses is that in an era of ever growing and increasing tech interactions we make ourselves available should clients actually want to meet and talk over issues or problems. Accountants have not become like Bank Managers hiding away behind a wall of non- responding call centres Accountants have remained accessible to their clients because not only does that foster good client relationships it is the single best way to generate new business referrals.

So when someone asks what do accountants do? Remember it’s a long list...

Tony Margaritelli - ICPA Chairman