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Businesses outline what they need from accountants

5th Nov 2013
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Good business planning, a personal relationship and the ability to relate to the company you’re providing your services to: These are just some of the expectations small-to-medium-sized businesses have of their accountants.

In the third part of the business edition of our video series on the 21st century client accountant relationship with Exact, the businesses discussed what their accountants do for them and what they expect in terms of service.

Pat Wood, owner of t-shirt business TruffleShuffle mentioned in the last video that his accountant, a top 10 firm, only contacts him once a year to remind him accounts are due to Companies House.

But in the past, the firm had a partner who worked with Wood’s company who was genuinely interested in his business.

“We had a wonderful chap who used to look after us and would drop in every couple of months. He’d sit in our board room and tell us what he thought of our t-shirt designs - he actually cared about what we did in our business,” Wood said.

But when he left and the firm started contacting TruffleShuffle once a year “as if on a recurring calendar reminder” Wood added, they became dissatisfied with their service and found a new accountancy firm.

“We’re not talking hundreds of pounds, we’re talking a few thousand a year here. For that I would expect a better service. If I’m spending a lot of money, I’d like a smile at the end of it.”

Wood lists a personal relationship as being very beneficial to his company, as well as an accountant who is familiar with his line of business and easily accessible geographically.

And when it comes to added value services, he said that business advice is his number one.

Richard Pendlebury, chief executive of charity Emmaus Bristol has a positive relationship with his current accountants and has been with them for over a decade. He said that what he needs most from his accountant is someone who can provide good business planning.

“You do need to do the historical stuff like producing accounts but what most of us need to know is what the future looks like,” he added.

What Pendlebury likes about his accountants is that they don’t charge for offering general advice during the year and he doesn’t feel like they are “clock watching”.

“Just being there is what we want. I feel secure with them. Most clients want to feel like they’re being treated like individuals. When they’re not, then that’s when the whole thing falls apart,” he said.

Also joining in the conversation was Jiten Modhwadia, senior sales executive at Exact and former practitioner. He added that on the back of recent survey results, accountants need to be proactive and an “internal partner that happens to be an external supplier.”

Does this gel with what your clients expect of you - and do your provide those services? Click on this link to view the full video conversation and comment to let us know what you think.


Replies (2)

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By amalonio
05th Nov 2013 21:09

The new reality

It's the same as the owner of Coalesco was saying in a recent article:

1. Personal and approachable

2. Available

3. Thinking about how to help their business and being pro active in their approach

That's what clients are demanding rather than the "let's talk about last year" and your tax bill approach.

Also not surprise to hear a top 10 firm couldn't provide this, they are more worried about the big fish to even know what a smaller fish looks like or how to help it swim.


Thanks (1)
By Rachael White
06th Nov 2013 09:16

Thanks for your comment amalonio - why not put it under the video so that other members can see and respond?

Thanks (1)