Accountancy From The Client Perspective I am not sure if this is the answer you were looking for but having run a business for 18 years then been employed for 6 and just now returned to running a different business I have a view of accounting golden rules that might be of interest to budding accountants. When we started our first business there were two of us, I was the marketer and my partner was the administrator. Or as we explained to friends I did the bull****ing and she did the worrying! We operated in the tourism industry and as the business started to grow we knew that, apart from our own knowledge and experience in the products and services we were offering, we had to make sure that we had good legal advice and good financial advice. We tripped over a young and hungry accountant who was just getting going in his practice and for a few years it worked well for both sides because we were clients and had a friendship. But then we reached the point where we were looking for advice that was a little bit outside his knowledge and experience and his business was growing in volume so that we became a smaller and smaller fish in his pond. We parted on good terms as we both recognised that it was time for that change. Ironically, we next went to a larger accountancy firm but did so because they had skills in franchising, which is the direction we wanted to head in. We were still a very small fish but the pond had more for us to feed on. This was firm that we stayed with until we sold the business. In between times we had dealings with a number of accountants as we undertook joint ventures, explored opportunities for investors into the business and reviewed arrangements with people with whom we wanted to form business arrangements. I now have an accountant who absolutely fits my needs and with whom I have a great rapport! So the following are some golden rules that I would suggest from the perspective of a client: 1. I am not an accountant so don't presume I know all the jargon. 2. When I ask a question in my words don't make me feel stupid because I haven't used the right language. 3. When I present a document with my figures don't immediately tell me to put it into a different format to suit the way you want to read it. (I have lost count of the number of times I presented a simple cashflow spreadsheet only to be asked to put it together a different way - same information, same bottom line but twice as much work for me..) 4. I ask for your advice because I don't know something or because I want to learn. Please answer me clearly and concisely and use examples in the context of my business, not yours. 5. I don't know what I don't know but I don't mind if you ask me the obvious so you are able to work out what I don't know - because I expect you to know! 6. I would rather consider and reject unsolicited advice from you than have to ask you at a later stage "why didn't you tell me...." 7. Tell me at the beginning of the financial year what I should be collecting, watching out for or recording. Don't tell me at tax time what I should have been doing for the past 12 months. 8. Even if it is not true I would like to be made to feel like I am an important client and that my business matters to you. 9. When I have problems or am in trouble I might need to be told what to do, not just given options and told to make my own mind up. 10. We don't need to be first most best friends but I respond well to having special times remembered - my birthday, anniversary of the business etc.. It is amazing how small gestures build large loyalty. And last of all the biggie: Enjoy what you do! Your enthusiasm for your work communicates to clients and we respond to that. Most of us who run small businesses are pretty passionate about our business so we bond strongly with those who are equally passionate about their business.
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