I had lunch yesterday with Will Farnell, one of the hundreds of accountants that use our OrbitAccounts product.

He had some interesting stuff to say on the changing role of the accountant. A lot of the advice they used to give is now freely available on the internet for anyone who cares to search for it (ie, benefits of being a Sole Trader vs Ltd, should you register for VAT, etc).

There’s much more competition because online accounting software means SMEs no longer have to choose someone in their town.

I also get to hear from many business owners and their varied experiences with accountants.

It seems that accountants not only have the challenge of gaining new clients, but also retaining them too. From what I hear, the personal relationship is key to that.

So here’s the question:

If you could give one tip to an accountant on how they can better work with you, what would it be?

For example:

Show an interest: don’t wait for me to call you with a problem or a question. Show a genuine interest in my business and initiate a call to see how things are going and if I need anything.

Understand my business: know more about my business than just the hard numbers. You see many other businesses and if you know their businesses too then you’re in a good position to share wisdom and lessons learned.

Refer clients to me: I don’t mean I want you to go out and hard sell or even proactively look for leads. But if you see an opportunity that might be a good match for my products/services, let me know and mention me to the potential customer.

Proactive advice: If I call you and ask if I would be better of on the Flat Rate Scheme for VAT and you say yes, my next question should be: Then why the hell didn’t you tell me that?

Use the comments section below to post your tip, advice or accountant-based anecdote.
You’re welcome to remain anonymous if you prefer.

We’ll make sure your words reach their ears

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