Dear accounting profession,
It shouldn’t have been up to me to write this letter but here goes.
The truth is that while I’ve been patiently waiting for you to escape the compliance cubicle, I can’t hang around much longer. Business is getting more competitive by the day and I need your help.
Over the years, I’ve sat through meeting after meeting with you about my tax returns. To be honest, I do this under sufferance – tax doesn’t light me up. Besides, I pretty much know by now what you’re going to say. I get more from our annual tax planning meetings because there’s tax to be saved and payments to be scheduled but compliance matters leave me pretty flat.
There’s so much I could learn from you about business but it’s like you have a tax filter on your lens. I’d rather work with all that you have to offer.
It’s time to spell it out…..Help me to run a better business!
Because I’m busy at the coalface, it’s easy to miss what your experienced eye can see. I don’t need you to have all the answers… just show an interest and ask me good questions.
I’m lonely too. I can’t confide in my employees about how the business is going, or my friends for that matter. Nor do I necessarily want to burden my spouse with business issues. You are the perfect confidant – you already know my business and my back story. What’s more I respect your professionalism and love that you’re in business too.
Meet with me quarterly, at appointments set 12 months in advance. Know that I’ll look forward to them and be interested in what you have to say.
- Use a standard agenda, with scope to vary and add items each meeting.
- Hold me to account about what I undertook to do at the last encounter.
- Tailor my accounting reports if need be. Tell me where the money went. Give me meaningful comparisons against budget and previous periods. So much the better if you have benchmark data – I can learn a lot from this.
- Don’t give me 20 graphs just because you can. Give me the two that really matter.
- And please, don’t go straight to expenses in your commentary. Lead me through my revenue and gross margins. Help me uncover the underlying issues that will determine my future.
- Prompt my interest with your questions about average sale and conversion rate. You know so much about keeping accurate records – help me set up systems to capture this data and provide a dashboard on how these revenue indicators are tracking.
- Along the way, captivate me with advice about making my business more saleable. Also, help me find the means to maximise my super contributions along the way. My retirement aspirations are integrally linked to this encouragement and assistance.
- Broaden my horizons – suggest systems to run my business better. Explain why I should classify my customers. Answer my questions about employee incentive plans.
Did I mention budgets? Take me through an annual budgeting process too. I’ll need a set of projections for expected profit and another for cash flow. While you’re at it, help me appreciate the importance of managing my working capital.
Know that what you do is incredibly valuable so tell me what your service packages are and which one you recommend. Then let me pay you in monthly instalments. Easy peasy.
Accountants, I’m waiting for your call.
Scott Charlton, director, Slipstream Coaching