An accountant in practice will be really good at tax returns, know all the statutory rules and may also be very good at business advice – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are also an expert in day-to-day financial management, management information or financial strategy.
For most small businesses, what you’re buying from your accountant is your year-end statutory accounts, your corporation tax return and your personal tax returns.
Unless it’s stated specifically in your scope of engagement don’t assume you’re also getting business advice throughout the year.
Some accountants are backwards looking, and don’t necessarily give the advice you need.
But if you don’t know this and rely on them to tell you what you need to know, you’re going to have a black hole of skills and advice.
As a business owner, it’s really important to understand there’s a distinction between year-end compliance accounting and tax planning, and the day to day financial controls, information and strategy – they don’t usually go arm in arm.
Many accountants don’t understand what real management accounts look like
This isn’t a criticism, because most accountants aren’t trained or experienced in management accounting.
For example, I’m a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA – a commercially focussed qualification) and followed a commercial route through business.
I’d never worked in an accountancy practice until I started my own firm – so my experience was always at the coal front; real business.
Over 35 years, I’ve built up deep specialist knowledge of management accounts and how they give business owners what they need to create long term success.
Many accountants believe that management accounts are just a quarterly or monthly version of the annual accounts. There are many reasons why this isn’t the case.
Or worse, they think that the profit and loss report you print from Sage, Xero or QuickBooks is management accounts – again, wrong!
I was amazed that business owners had so little support from accountants when it came to the vital numbers for their business – this has to change.
We offer a structured step-by step approach to take any business to where it wants to be financially. Tell us your dreams, we’re ready to help you achieve them.
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