Blog

Why Use Accountants At All

by Jeff Banks

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
1974 saw the release of Young Frankenstein a movie of dubious literary quality starring Gene Wilder but one which gives me one of the great one liners which I am using as this week’s Quote of the Week:

How can I say in a few minutes what…

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
1974 saw the release of Young Frankenstein a movie of dubious literary quality starring Gene Wilder but one which gives me one of the great one liners which I am using as this week’s Quote of the Week:

How can I say in a few minutes what it has taken me a lifetime to understand?

Experience, of course, you can’t beat it. You can have all the academic credentials in the world but who needs a walking encyclopedia? If you cannot relate the learning to the task driven world we live in, what have you got? Wikipedia a large bundle of  ‘facts’ that may not necessarily be truth let alone a means to implement this knowledge as strategies?

Surrounding yourself with learned, cost effective advisors is one of the great ‘challenges’ facing business. The sifting between simple education and knowledge and the implementation of strategies is critical to success. When I first started out in business on my own I was 25, I had been poached by a management and taxation consulting firm, to be a partner, from the accounting practice where I had done my ‘apprenticeship’. I went from a job, where all my assignments were handed to me, I processed them and thankfully my mentors included me in the review process sharing their knowledge and experience across years of serving clients, to a partnership where I was one of the principal decision makers and advisors. The buck stopped with me! At this point the difference between education and knowledge (and add to that experience) was rammed home.

My business partner at the time suggested I was very quickly getting a degree in a vital requisite of advising? a degree in ‘gutter technology’ – to go with my other academic qualifications and that this ‘degree’ would be much more valuable to me than all the pieces of paper hanging on my wall combined (although the ones on the wall allow me to trade as opposed to the gutter technology one which will bring me clients). It would in effect take all my education and make me be able to understand and actually apply it to real world applications modifying the formal teachings to the informality of the client situation, knowing which rules could be ‘bent’ (and how far) and which ones that under no circumstances could be broken.

I find as I look back, my degrees and qualifications have lots of ongoing professional development from both a technical aspects but as anecdotally we assist more clients with their own idiosyncrasies our knowledge base grows and my ‘gutter technology’ degree continually develops as well.

So what is the real point of the discussion?

We talk about there not being one all encompassing solution to client requirements. Some like it cheap and nasty seeing accounting as a necessary evil and those who want success and the trappings that come with it. There are those of course who want the latter with the former cost base.
For all clients though, there is a need, a need for the expertise of advisors, apart from just compliance assistance which may be the perception of accountants of many in the market place. There are plenty of what we would term the ‘sausage factory’ of accounting/tax agent businesses, your ITP and H&R Block if you will. Compliance is there game and their models are built around speed, cost and convenience, but there is so much more you can get from a quality accounting advisor.

Accounting, tax and compliance are one thing, reporting, review, budget and goal setting are also services good accountants bring to your advice table. In contrast to the ‘sausage factory’ our busiest time of the year is not now until 31 October (the usual time for the vast majority of people and businesses to lodge tax returns) it was the three months leading up to 30 June, where we got around to all our business clients reviewing and planning year end to ensure no nasty surprises.

Your accountant can’t be just about compliance otherwise you could be effectively lurching through the darkness towards the light of an oncoming freight train that they will announce you are about to hit, sometime after the event.
We all have a lifetime of experience; accountants have experience stretching potentially across a myriad of clients, accumulated knowledge from the trials and tribulations of many to in effect become a major resource for your business. How you use us is of course up to you.

There endeth the sermon.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *