Charging around like a wounded bull

BullThis is an expression I have heard countless times when business owners talk about their relationship with their accountant – particularly when it comes to explaining why they had reservations about picking up the phone to consult prior to making a big business decision.

In my experience, although many accountants do still charge for phone calls, most do not and very few would not agree to an invitation to just chat about your business for a while on a free of charge basis.

Try picking up the phone and asking your accountant whether he would be happy to do that. If he isn’t, it’s probably time to start asking around for a referral to one that will.

Clearly any commercial business is in existence to make a profit, and accounting businesses are no different, so don’t expect the free visit or call to be regular and a source of unending free advice. But the principle of just chewing the fat once in a while is one embraced by many forward thinking accountants. And here’s why.

Business owners are not always business experts. Sometimes they are just doing something they enjoy and don’t have that much experience. Accountants on the other hand have spent their entire careers working with businesses, have seen pretty much all the problems and pitfalls, and have helped clients through them. They also have an array of professional contacts to consult and refer clients to.

Your accountant also probably knows your business and its history far better than any other professional adviser. Here’s why that free of charge catch up meeting works for both parties.

You need help, but you probably don’t know all the questions to ask. A free ranging chat with your accountant is likely to uncover issues which will enable you to improve your business performance and profits – and your accountant is also going to be able to help you to do that. They secure additional work which they can charge for and agree those charges with you in advance where possible. Everybody wins. If the ‘everybody wins’ scenario doesn’t surface then what has been lost?

A little time and maybe the price of a coffee but both parties understanding of each other’s business will have improved, and the underlying business relationship will have been enhanced and that’s not bad as a fall back.

Peter Morgan
Phone: 5539 9777 or email peterm@munro.com.au

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