8 Ways To Get The Best Value From Your Accountant

The key to getting the best deal from your accountant – Consider the service as an investment, not a cost. You need to ensure the value provided is accurately reflected in their fees.

1. Selecting the right accountant – Ensure your accountant is the right match for your business. For a small company, choosing a large accountancy firm isn’t necessarily the wisest move – Why pay ‘corporate’ fees when you could benefit from a smaller practice? Research several firms to find the best match avoiding unnecessary costs.

2. Industry sector expertise. Identify an accountant that has specific experience within your industry sector. This will enable them to offer informed, specialist advice and add value helping you maximise profit.

3. Understand and maximise the value they can add. Be clear on your priorities when you select an accountant – Ensure that they can offer sound advice in additional areas that are important to you – For example, strategic business planning to help achieve your goals. Other than benefitting from sound financial advice, be sure to utilise your accountants’ connections – Accountants specialising in your industry sector should be able to recommend trade contacts offering favourable rates or perhaps they work in partnership with other relevant businesses that can also assist you in saving costs.

4. Negotiate the right fee structure. Time based billing is the traditional, but out-dated method of charging – Accountants advocate this, as it rewards inefficiency. It also leaves the customer with a sense of uncertainty. Fees should be simple and transparent: Insist on a fixed fee, for a specific period of time. Eliminate uncertainty and avoid nasty surprises for emails, letters, phone calls or visits. Ensure you can spread the cost monthly allowing you to manage cash flow more effectively.

5. Brief your accountant. Invest time in briefing your accountant so they really understand your businesses current requirements and future plans, enabling them to give well informed, proactive advice and prevent them from working ‘in the dark’ only delivering a generic service.

6. Set Expectations. Your accountant will summarise Business Terms in a Letter of Engagement. Make your expectations clear from the outset too: Describe the level of service you require – For example, how quickly you require queries to be resolved and accounts to be processed, formalise this in writing and don’t be afraid to set the bar high, superior customer service should be a priority.

7. Build a relationship with your accountant. Communicate regularly to get the best possible value from the relationship. Schedule telephone meetings to review your business’s performance, so you can better plan for the future. Become comfortable interrogating the information that is delivered and ask questions if things are unclear, utilising the information to boost your profitability. Inform them if your plans or direction change: Your accountant needs to be an extension of your business enabling you to prosper.

8. Provide information in a timely and organised manner. If your financial affairs are well organised before you start working together, you will undoubtedly save money in fees and help your accountant deliver a more pro-active, focused service. If you work in a methodical way, it will allow more time for your accountant to think strategically about your business, hence adding further value.

For further tips on choosing the right accountant, download our free guide now!

10 Things to look for when choosing an accountant for your pub

Managing your pubs finances is one of the most critical tasks you face on a daily basis. Get it wrong and the impact to you, your business, your staff and your suppliers could be devastating.

Most pubs utilise the monthly services of a book keeper and the annual service of an accountant. This combination usually results in an incongruous, generic service with very little specialist industry insight. This is both inefficient and expensive and results in a purely one way relationship.

A preferable option would be the selection of an accountant that can offer combined services for a fixed monthly fee. The ultimate would be a licensed trade specialist who understands all industry nuances and can advise across the areas of finance and business relevant to you, such as margin analysis. They will also be able to draw on their experiences of similar businesses, thus adding meaningful value and insight that could directly impact your profitability.

With a great accountant in place, you will have the peace of mind you need to be able to focus on what you do best – Running a successful pub

So, consider the following:

1. Is your accountant qualified? Take the time to check this out with the relevant accounting bodies.

2. Does your accountant have an in depth understanding of your industry sector? Do they really appreciate the nuances of the pub trade and are they aware of your specific needs?

3. Do you regard your accountancy fees as good value for money? Do they offer an all-inclusive fixed monthly fee (with no hidden extras) so you always know where you stand?

4. Do your accountants make your life easy in the way that they request information from you, making things simple and giving you clear guidance?

5. Does your accountant feel like a part of your business, adding measurable value, directly helping you make more money?

6. Are your accountants pro-active? Are they always looking for ways to enhance your profitability? Suggesting creative solutions to solve your problems and pain points?

7. Do your accountants provide you with a “bespoke service” that suits your individual pub rather than their business model?

8. Does your accountant communicate with you in a way you understand (no jargon) regularly meeting you to ‘translate’ the detail and meaning of your accounts?

9. Does your accountant minimise your bill tax rather than just “counting beans”? Do they use their expertise to save you money in this fundamental area?

10. Is your accountant customer service focused, timely and approachable?

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these ten questions should help you consider the key benefits an accountant should be able to offer to ensure that your pub prospers.