The Death of the Accountant?
Is the accountant dead? Well I have to say I think the stereotypical accountant is definitely dead.
Long gone are the days of grey suits, stuffy offices, complex jargon and ridiculous fees. In this day and age, the new entrepreneur needs more, wants more. Due to the advent of technological wizardry, you can now scan your receipts, upload your bank statements and streamline all your processes almost to the point that book keepers will be no more. A quick check online and a tick in the box and your accounts are good to go, all sent to Companies House, HMRC and your bank manager in the blink of an eye.
So where does that leave your accountant? It leaves them there to add value, help you grow, help you develop your business and make that 3,5 or 10 year plan.
But lets face it - they are just an accountant! What do they know about running a business? Yes, they can crunch the numbers, yes they can tell you your breakeven point, your gearing ratio and what your wages should be in relation to turnover. But that is really it, in my opinion.
Does your accountant know what its like to lie awake at night worrying about that next sale, that next appointment, meeting the loan repayments, growth and scaling up your operations. Do they know about recruitment, HR, how to deal with difficult staff, lost contracts and angry customers. Possibly the latter due to their astronomical fees, but in answer to the rest, I would guess no.
In this day and age, the entrepreneur needs more - much more, more than what your bog standard accountant offers. They need insight, empathy and understanding - someone who has been there and done that. Obviously someone who understands the figures, that goes without saying, but someone who knows what its like to start up and run a business. THAT is where the entrepreneur will get value from their accountant.
I am blessed to have both. Twenty plus years as a FCCA and the last twelve setting up and running my own business. I've cried, sweated and rejoiced along the way. Way more ups than downs, we have hit amazing targets and achieved the almost impossible.
So take note, dont just go the biggest and fanciest accountant that claims to know and understand the entrepreneur. Really, what can they do for you? Do they really understand where you are coming from? Have they been there, done that, got the T Shirt? If not, well maybe its time to look a wee bit further afield and find someone you can have faith in.