Do your clients understand their Accounts?
The title actually gives away my age because the younger accountants amongst us would be talking not about “Accounts” but “Numbers” so for the youngsters out there I’ll restate the question just for you “Do your clients understand their numbers?”
Well, do they? Now some of you will say “They’re not interested” or “They just want to know about their tax” which in some circumstances is no doubt true especially in the Contractor sector but as an Accountant do you actually discuss the “numbers” with the client? Do you test their understanding of what you are asking them to sign and pay for? Do you yourself compare the accounts against other clients in the same field or even via a search against a wider audience of results?
If the answer to all or any of these questions is “No” than are you experiencing fee opposition? If the best you offer your clients is a set of “Numbers” followed by 2 other things namely 1. A note of how much they inevitably owe the exchequer and when it’s due followed by 2. Your bill are you really surprised when all they can say which applies to both items 1. And 2. Is “How much?” and usually it’s not couched as a question more an exclamation.
Now compliance work is crucial and basically our prime obligation to our clients. We have to give them the certainty that the amounts due are correct and are provided in a timely manner to result in time to save for them by the client and also lodged speedily to stop the authorities having an opportunity to render fines. This is fundamental and must never be undervalued or ignored.
But for a lot of businesses the “Numbers” are crucial to the future of the business and to the decision making process that will underpin those decisions or those discussions and if they are not understood sufficiently then how good will those decisions be?
We trained as Accountants and we understand the Numbers but if we never get involved in anything other than the tax implications of those numbers as the years move on and the numbers stay fairly static what have we to discuss? What extra value are we adding? How much value does the client place on our services now?
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