Growing businesses, grow the economy.
My partners and I regularly speak with accountants about their clients’ needs and challenges. This coupled with our continuous range of educational events that we host for advisors, our awareness around the challenges is constantly heightened with the abundance of business reports, consumer confidence metrics, and government initiatives: all generated with the goal of making our economy stronger.
At one of our state conference masterclasses, our discussions quickly turned to a reported statistic that says that only 26% of business owners seek strategic advice from an advisor, and asked how the audience of accountants in the room felt about this proposition. All present not only agreed with the statistic, but from their experiences they reported that it is difficult to get clients to take strategic advice over and above (what might be called) ‘regulatory account and tax return preparation’. And of those that did take strategic advice, we weren’t surprised to hear that for those clients their businesses were not only surviving but were thriving.
The accountants at our Conference raised many reasons why the majority of their clients were resistant to engage them for these additional services. Understandably, the most common reason was cost. That is not to say that the costs of these additional services were excessive, but for a small business owner such costs on top of their existing regulatory accounting and tax compliance costs, it is obviously not a cost they are willing to bear; despite what we, as advisors in the professional services industry, might see as beneficial.
So, the question becomes, would more clients engage additional services to supplement or augment their business strategy; planning; monitoring; cash flow, if the regulatory accounting and tax return costs were reduced?
And if so, how could these costs be reduced and still be a profitable and readily available business service?
Do the regulators and law makers need to recognise that the costs being borne by small business owners to engage their accountants to comply with the myriad of regulations (i.e. red tape, tax legislation reporting etc.)—that provides little value for a business’s strategic management—prohibit accounting services specifically tailored to helping their business survive and thrive being sought and therefore applied.
Perhaps, my musings are just par for the course, but how often do any of us as individuals, as professionals, as business owners, indulge in questioning the status quo and its impact. I know that for me, I think giving time to the notion and desire for better businesses in the marketplace and to align advisors’ talent and skill, with cause, is worthy of a vocation.
It’s a growing business that grows an economy; that buys stock; that occupies premises; that employs staff: not a business bogged down financially in red tape and regulation.