Prime Blog

December 2011

Accountants or Business Advisers?

There is a significant industry which has grown up to help accountants market themselves and provide identifiable ‘products’ to ‘sell’ to differentiate themselves from their local competition, because, lets face it, accountancy isn’t really sexy (although I would actually argue that it is, but that’s another blog perhaps).

Also as Accountants aren't brought up to be good at marketing, there is a temptation to think you can 'buy-in' an easy answer.

A few years ago these self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ were telling us to call ourselves Business Advisers rather than Chartered Accountants as it sounded more ’cool’ and approachable.

Funnily enough, our Institute tried over ten years ago to help us market ourselves better and improve our image by printing car stickers which said that ‘It is easier to sleep with a Chartered Accountant’ ……. strangely they have closed that particular department.

So, Business Adviser or Chartered Accountant? Most firms have stuck with calling themselves Chartered Accountants …. It may sound a bit stuffy but it was painful enough achieving the qualification so not many feel like throwing it away in favour of something warm and cuddly, that frankly anyone can describe themselves as.

However while preparing year end accounts and carrying out audits is the bedrock of our business most new enquiries want a lot more than just that.

For instance we are currently helping a client set up a national franchise business which, while nothing to do with online sales, will rely on a website as its hub to control it and allow it to scale rapidly. So we have attended meetings with their website developers helping them define the tables and fields in the SQL database behind the website, as we have a lot of practical experience of that, not least in our own business.

Another company has approached us this week to help them put an existing business online and look after all their bookkeeping and accounting requirements using our Virtual Accounts Office. So we are choosing the right ‘cloud’ enterprise software that will link to their website to handle customer orders and back to back supplier orders, stock control etc.

So, no accounting going on in either of those yet. In fact when we help them set their businesses up in the right way, the ongoing accounting will be straightforward. Set up the wrong way and it would be a nightmare.

Most enquiries these days want end to end business advice including marketing, HR, IT, systems…oh …. and, of course, accounts and tax.

So perhaps we ought to be all warm and cuddly Business Advisers on our website….. uuummmm ….. leave it a little while longer yet.

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