Main article content

Can working with an Accountant help you grow your business?

Date: Apr 22, 2022

Can working with an Accountant help you grow your business?

Yes, IF they are the right Accountant for your business and IF you have an honest working relationship with them.

The right Accountant for your business could be someone who has experience working in your business sector but not if they just follow the path of what’s always been done. Sometimes working with an Accountant who isn’t an expert in your business sector brings a fresh outlook as they need to ask questions to understand your business properly.

It is this questioning approach in either situation that creates the continuous flow of communication and conversation.

The right Accountant for your business isn’t someone who sits on the side-lines and prepares the numbers each month. It is someone who is inquisitive, who wants to truly understand your business and who you are accepting of and can establish a trusted relationship with.

The acceptance side is key from a business owner perspective. Not only are you letting them in to your inner circle of trust, but you are wanting their opinion and their guidance on different situations that you may face. Your Accountant should be posing questions that challenge your thinking, that get you really assessing if something is right for your business and giving you the confidence to make the right decisions. Even if that right decision is to stop doing something. They should not be dictating what you should do. It is your business, and you must take responsibility for your decisions.

As a business owner you need to know that your accountant has the right experience for your business. For example, if they offer Finance Director services but they’ve never been a Finance Director in a business then how can they have this experience to pass on to you?

In my personal opinion, gaining experience as a Finance Director in your own business only is not sufficient for you to be a good Finance Director. You need to work at this level in different businesses, where you are not the main decision maker. You need to get the experience where you have lived and breathed the challenges, be that in working relationships, decision making or completing the work. Without this you are just going through the motions.

Some businesses may think they never need a Finance Director as they’re just too small but if you changed that label to “a person who can help you run your business more efficiently, is your support unit and a trusted member of your team” then it becomes more relevant to every business.

Role titles have been around for a long time, and it is what drives a lot of people on their career path but as a Business Owner you need to know if your Accountant has the experience that you need. That does not mean that they have all the answers because otherwise they are just someone who delivers the response you want to hear. It means “will you turn to them when you need to truly discuss a situation before making a decision and you trust and respect them enough to take on board their views before making those decisions”

Only with the right Accountant can they help your business grow and this is still not guaranteed. It is the responsibility of both sides to say whether or not you are the right fit. The accountant should admit if they’re not the right fit before they even begin working with you and as a business owner you should recognise that they are not and be confident enough to say this rather than just working with them because you need an accountant.

This takes courage on behalf of the accountant because they are actually turning business down and you may think that’s crazy but actually it’s because they know that they won’t do justice for your business as their experience doesn’t match your needs. For a business owner it is getting the balance between arrogance and confidence right and not thinking “I don’t need this, and I can do this on my own”. Most of the time this moves from confidence of knowing your business into arrogance because you feel challenged, or you don’t want to accept any help or direction. If you continue on this path, then you will never find an accountant that is the right fit for your business.

The relationship with your accountant isn’t one that is formed overnight. It is like any relationship. It takes time and needs to be worked on continuously. Each side must be able to share their fears, admit if they are wrong or don’t know or understand but through this a team is created that wants to work together.

Every business is so unique that creating a list that of work that an Accountant must do to help grow your business is almost meaningless as it’s not relevant to every business

What is meaningful is:

  • They make sure you as a business owner understand the data and the figures
  • You understand what it really means if you make decision A instead of decision B
  • If the 10 ideas in your head really are feasible or just that, ideas, that can now be put to one side so you can focus on what needs to be done
  • If they’re feasible ideas, working with you to turn them into a reality
  • Reviewing and assessing your customer journey for points of failure and helping you to remove these
  • Removing complexity in your business to makes things more efficient and to give you and your staff time back to focus on growth activities not processing activities
  • Looking at your products and services and if your customers really know what they’re buying and continually updating this as your business changes
  • Discussing diversification of your business, what this really means and how it could affect your core business
  • Supporting you through challenging times just because you need to talk to someone who understands

The relationship between a business owner and their accountant should evolve continuously as your business changes and grows. It is an exciting journey to be on together if you can get it right and will inspire and motivate both of you