As a qualified accountant of over 25 years standing it never ceases to amaze me as to why so many of the fraternity fail to push their role beyond that of compliance officer and actually perform as trusted business advisers.
Accountants deal with all sorts of businesses and have a lot of experience to share amongst clients, apart from the fact that they undergo rigorous examinations that cover real life business scenarios.
Business people are in a silo, which means that they are usually very good at what they do and make lots of money in the process while giving jobs to people. However many of the fall very short when it comes to understanding the process of selling their business.
It is a totally different experience to flogging widgets and calls for a completely different mindset and skills set. In fact the process of selling often starts before the retiring business owner realises it has begun.
Enter the accountant.
Actually, not quite the case. You see, an accountant traditionally tends to be reactionary so that if the client doesn't share their innermost financial and business affairs with them, nothing will happen. Nothing .
Apart from the year end accounts, which the owner begrudgingly pays for and the accountant looks forward to preparing because it is an annual fee. But what if the fees were earned throughout the year in the form of insight and advice? Surely the relationship would be somewhat less adversarial and more of a two-winner situation.
The business owner is getting good advice to ensure the business will be in rude financial health when the time comes to sell, and let's face it who knows when that could be? Not every business sale takes place upon retirement of the owners. There are plenty of predators swimming out there in the industrial and engineering business sectors looking to entice sellers with generous offers that fit their own strategic ends.
So the lesson for all you SME owners out there especially in the B2B engineering, fabrication or manufacturing sectors is lift the phone to your accountant and invite round for a cuppa on the shop floor.
And if you happen to be an accountant reading this blog do the inviting yourself. Call up your client and invite yourself round to them ! Reverse engineering if ever there was.