For many in business, the idea of spending more time with their external accountant may sound a bit alien. It certainly is not untypical for most business owners and their accountants to only meet once a year to review the annual accounts and to discuss the tax returns. Invariably, most can then be forgiven for thinking that there is little to be gained from frequent contact.
However, this is not the view of the Partners at UK top 40 accountancy practice Streets Chartered Accountants, who, over the last three years, in response to client demand, have increased their footprint across the region with the opening of a Northamptonshire office at Raunds and, with a number of mergers, created the practice of Streets S J Males in Luton and Streets Eadie Young in Banbury. This is in addition to the firm’s well-established offices in Stevenage, Wyboston Lakes, Peterborough and further afield.
Alan Endersby, Audit and Accountancy Partner, along with his fellow Tax Partners Luke Prout and Jennie Brown, feel more and more businesses, especially owner managed businesses, have a lot to gain from being in touch and meeting with their accountant more frequently, say at least once a quarter or even more often. Certainly, they feel that their work is much more than undertaking annual compliance assurance and that they have a key role in providing support and guidance as their clients’ trusted adviser.
In contrast to much of an accountant’s work, focusing on looking back at historical figures to produce your annual accounts, there is much to be gained from a review of the in-year management accounts – a role your external adviser is certainly well placed to fulfil by bringing their broader experience and commercial insights to bear on the numbers. Also, if you don’t have the resources, they may even assist with management accounts production.
By focusing on the in-year numbers, businesses can look to address any emerging issues and challenges around profitability, cost control, working capital requirements, capital investment decisions and even potential tax issues.
In an increasingly digital world, not least in terms of financial reporting, being able to tap in to the knowledge of your adviser can be a real asset, ensuring your systems are set up and running correctly. This also provides the unique and informal chance to help support and train in-house team members and answer any queries they may have.
Like many other firms of accountants, Streets endeavours to ensure clients are informed and updated on legislative changes and other factors affecting their business. Busy working lives often mean such information gets overlooked. However, more regular and structured contact helps to ensure clients are kept up to date with changes and issues that may affect them.
Finally, when it comes to your financial year-end, as a result of contact throughout the year, this should be a smooth and seamless process. It should also be one with little or no surprises and that provides time for well thought out year-end tax and financial planning – an outcome which will no doubt harbour a better and more worthwhile relationship between client and accountant alike.
To find out more about the Streets approach visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org