What makes a good accountant brilliant?
Accountants must stand out from the crowd in order to survive and thrive. With around 43,250 accountancy firms in the UK it's a dog-eat-dog world, with everyone vying to woo clients and retain them by outshining the competition.
A huge range of skills are needed to be a good accountant, from complicated accounting systems to tearful clients. But what makes a good accountancy firm truly out-of-this-world amazing?
As with most things, the devil is in the detail. But there are plenty of quick wins here.
Actually get to know your clients (and be genuinely interested)
You might be a numbers bod, but a good accountancy service is about far more than simply crunching digits. It’s actually a very human vocation.
As a competent accountant, you should be keen to invest time in getting to know your client and their business. You want them to think of you as an extension to their team, giving sound advice and insights that help them make important business decisions. For example, can they really afford to invest in that new piece of equipment right now?
An outstanding accountant will be proactive in providing real-time financial information about their business to help. They will also contribute to their business plan.
Be a shoulder to cry on - especially in these challenging economic times
You have a lot on your plate for sure, but so do your clients. The costs of doing business are soaring so it’s no wonder they get a little stressed/angry/panicky/tearful (delete as applicable).
Being the still small voice of calm will go a long way in forging a trusting professional relationship. By displaying your knowledge and professionalism, they’re likely to stick with you long term.
Adding a little humanity to proceedings also means your client is likely to be more open with any problems that arise, helping you solve them early on. After all, finding out they can’t pay their VAT bill long after it was due only stores up trouble for them - and a headache for you - later on.
Provide a diverse range of services
Accountancy firms generally all offer bread and butter stuff like tax returns and tax efficiency advice. But as well as offering all the usual services your clients expect, it’s also important to include niche offerings alongside. R&D Tax Credits is a good example.
Partnering with an external agency like Myriad Associates is a great way forward here. It not only frees up your time for other things, but also means you don’t need to worry about employing extra people. It’s a great way to keep overhead costs in check whilst still providing as many services as possible.
Keep up-to-date with latest accounting trends
Accounting is an area that’s constantly evolving, so staying ahead of the game is vital.
Work is busy and there aren’t enough hours in the day. But finding time to take a CPD course, read academic papers and re-check key pieces of legislation is essential in continuing to offer an accurate, professional service. It also builds trust in your brand.
This all sounds obvious, but it’s easy to lose sight of the wider landscape.
Being able to spot a mistake in a tax return from 3 miles away is part and parcel of being a good accountant. But an excellent accountant will take all the steps necessary to avoid mistakes in the first place.
We’re all human and errors happen. But when those errors can potentially cost your client thousands and damage your firm’s reputation, the odd mistake can’t just be written off.
Accountants that really stand out from the rest will automate as many processes as possible, leaving little to human involvement. They will also run their business from the cloud so that all documents and systems can be accessed any time and from any device.
Automation also allows large amounts of data to be collated and manipulated simultaneously. Furthermore, the combination of high attention to detail coupled with slick, automated processes means an accountant can provide customers with real-time financial statements. This is a huge help to clients wishing to grow or diversify their business for example.
A first-class accountant will stay in touch with clients regularly, keeping the lines of communication wide open. They will also be able to explain complex terminology to clients in an easy-to-understand way, avoiding jargon where possible.
Accountants should also be able to anticipate the questions a client will ask and have a comprehensive answer ready.
Flexibility is important here too. Attracting as many clients as possible means offering a wide range of options for doing business. Some clients will indeed want to come to your office and speak fact-to-face, but nowadays a large proportion will prefer to talk over Zoom or similar. Make it easy for them.
This article was brought to you by Myriad Associates
Myriad Associates is a world-leading R&D tax consultancy based in the UK, Ireland and France.
Working tirelessly to achieve the valuable R&D tax relief companies deserve, we’ve also partnered with numerous accountancy practices to help them expand their services and attract clients. It’s like having a whole new department that just deals with R&D tax and funding - but without employing extra people and increasing your overheads.
Our partnership packages are pretty attractive too
Why not find out how your firm can go from good to excellent by broadening your repertoire of services today. Simply drop us a message or call 0207 118 6045.
No matter where you are geographically, our team will work with you remotely so you don’t even have to leave your desk.
You might also be interested in
Myriad Associates helps businesses maximise tax reliefs.