In recent times, “easy to use” accounting software has become available at a much more affordable price, especially with cloud accounting systems. They make big promises on the TV & Radio that anyone can use them to do their own bookkeeping, even Accounts and Tax Returns! While there is an obvious attraction to small business owners who are paying fair but large accounting fees, it can be quite immoral.
Not only does it give them unfair expectations, but it then creates issues for Accountants who must explain why the fee won’t change as the same, if not more time is spent clearing up the errors made on the system at the year-end!
To be fair, some will be able to pick it up and use it on their own, great! Good luck to them. After all, the point of an Accountant is to save money for the client anyway, right!?
But….some won’t be able to grasp it.
It isn’t their fault. They haven’t been trained in Accountancy. Yet they have been promised by a big brand that they will be able to do it on their own now.
Is this the only reason people value their Accountant less lately?
No, I don’t think so. I think in the last 5 years or so, people have developed this DIY attitude when it comes to bookkeeping for other reasons unbeknown to me. I don’t think it can all be pinned on Cloud Accounting. Now don’t get me wrong, Steele Financial is a Digital/Cloud based firm. I sing about the benefits of using the likes of Xero. This doesn’t mean Steele Financial become less involved though. The opposite really!
We can train on the cloud systems, do the bookkeeping for you, and then go further with this new fashionable “advisory services”.
Advisory services have always been “around”, but well…. rarely truly used.
Maybe the definition of “advisory services” has changed?
Maybe it used to mean advising on what expenses can be claimed…. or how much tax they need to pay?
Well, these days, people are a lot more savvy, and know quite a lot of this information already.
So, what does it mean now?
Well, now it seems to be more along the lines of creating and maintaining cashflow forecasts, budgets, and other more managerial reporting – more weekly/monthly involvement. Not just an annual communication!
People with their own business have also developed more of a thirst for financial knowledge recently too. For example, more business owners know what they are looking for in a Profit & Loss report. They know what budgets & cashflows are, and they are starting to demand them more!
So, do I need an Accountant?
Yes, you do. Accountants don’t just prepare you legally required documents each year (maybe some do). Accountants can save you tax through complex tax planning, they can help you avoid pitfalls with VAT & PAYE. They can prepare detailed budgets & cashflow forecasts for you, helping you grow your business and reach your dreams you had when you first started your business.
This is perhaps where Accountants can start to show their worth again and with our packages, our aim like all other accountants is to add value, and in return……hope for our clients to recognise our added value again!