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Post Info TOPIC: Can't afford to call their accountant


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Can't afford to call their accountant


I thought I would share this quick story of a potential client I met with last week.

One of my bookkeeper connections asked if I would give my initial consultation to one of his clients. Of course I would.

We ran through their latest figures from sage as well as the last set of accounts that were prepared. I explained some of the figures, what they meant, what they may need to do for various things, particularly the Balance Sheet. We also discussed a couple of tax strategies, including incorporation.

I then asked why their current accountant hadn't spoken to them about it. Their response was that they daren't phone up the accountant as it costs them £20 before the conversation has started. They certainly wouldn't have an accounts meeting with them so just accept the figures and post them back.

They are already paying a small fortune and are not getting any added value for it.

I'm intrigued to know if any of the bookkeepers here have clients who are afraid to phone their accountants and instead come to you for advice, particularly if you feel you are not the right person to give advice.




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Phil Hendy, The Accountancy Mentor

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Phil - may I ask why the client didn't feel compelled to change their accountant?

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Guru

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They do now!

No real reason, they just went with what they were recommended and assumed what they were getting was ok/ the norm. It is only now they are starting to realise!

To be honest the same applied with other expenses they were getting ripped off by i.e. Supplier, Utilities, Bank charges etc. Never queried anything and took it for granted.

Hence, why the business was failing. It was down to a circumstantial change to one of my bookkeepers that she started to think about these things as he was raising the issues..



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Phil Hendy, The Accountancy Mentor

Are you thinking of setting up your own practice or have you set up and need some help?

If so a mentor may be the way forward - feel free to get in touch and see how I can assist you.†



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I always surprised by how few people question costs e.g. bank charges (change to free banking), utilities, insurances and so on

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Senior Member

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HendyPhilhendy wrote:

I'm intrigued to know if any of the bookkeepers here have clients who are afraid to phone their accountants and instead come to you for advice, particularly if you feel you are not the right person to give advice.

I'm not sure I would say they are afraid to call their accountants, but certainly I find then when clients see and speak to me regularly, I can become the person they naturally ask these questions of.

In fact I'm building my whole business model to take advantage of that (the plan is to develop the skills within the business by taking further qualifications/employing the right people†to be able to offer a complete accounting service for small businesses).†

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Ruth (AFA, ACIB)

Shore Accounting
www.shoreaccounting.co.uk



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To be fair, if one has a very small or dormant business, it could just be true that any significant time with an accountant will eat all the profits. The accountant need not be overcharging at all for this to be true, just charging a reasonable rate for his or her time.

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gbm


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Disgusting Phil, gives us a bad name. Presume it was a larger firm who couldn't care less if they lost the odd "price sensitive" client.

Remember taking a client on a few years ago, actually from one of my previous employers. After I gave my quote, found out that I'd just cut their accountancy fees by 2/3rds.


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Nick

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Senior Member

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This sounds like my ideal client.

I come across no end of small businesses that get no support from their accountants. This is due to 2 reason, Firstly the accountant is not proactive and Secondly because Accountants just cost too much.

When I worked in practice a junior was charged out at £35 an hour for the work done, Partners were at least £150+ hour. All phone calls was recorded on a time keeping system and logged onto the clients time recording record. Granted we never had a fixed fee for phone calls but over time we became more transparent with our charges and made sure no nasty surprises were sprung on the clients as we were very client orientated.

For an accountant to take advantage and give little in return is poor. Businesses should be able to rely on their accountant to give them good business advice for a reasonable price, but some firms just do the year end stuff and thats it. No support, No proactive suggestions or recommendations.

As it stands, I never charge any of my customers for on going support if they wish to email or phone me to run queries by me and I'm more than willing to offer suggestions for ways for them to improve their business, whether it be cost cutting of overheads or perhaps suggesting alternative forms of advertising and customer service.

For example, how many people do you know actually thank their customers for paying an invoice or using their services with either a nice email or a letter? Not many, but it can certainly help their business to do so.





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