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Almost every small business owner has an accountant but how many actually use their accountant as the primary source of (non-tax) business advice?

When an owner first starts their business, they are usually very dependent on their accountant for advice. They are seen as knowledgeable, independent – someone they can trust. They help them set-up the business, suggest the right structure and who can help them do the many things a new business owner must do.

However, this dependence does not last. Their advice is often not sought as the business grows and becomes more complex. There is, of course, much more an accountant can do to advise their clients, but they seem unable to convince them that they are the right person to provide them the answers they seek. The owners baulk at the accountant’s hourly charges and the lack of clarity in their offer of advice. In the end, they decide to use their accountants just for tax, as it is clear that there is no other group that is as knowledgeable on tax, but they seek alternatives for other business advice whose value proposition is clearer.

As a business coach, every one of my clients has an accountant, but has still come to me for advice on how to make their business successful. I don’t do tax, and when it comes to the detailed implementation of financial systems, I recommend they talk to their accountant. If they are sufficiently large, I recommend they hire a CFO. However, they still come to me for such advice, rather than their accountant.

Why don’t most small business owners use their accountants for business improvement advice?

When I ask my new clients who they have used for business advice previously, most mention their accountant. When I ask why they were not satisfied with that advice, they mention a number of reasons:

  • The accountant tells them what to do, rather than how to do it.
  • Many accountants don’t seem to be interested in the detail of their business.
  • Accountants have no structured way of providing the advice; so it appears ad hoc.
  • While owners are not unwilling to pay for advice, lack of structure to the advice appears as unending hourly charges with no outcomes attached.
  • Accountants don’t have a great reputation when it comes to marketing advice.

As a demonstration of this last point, most accountants are unable to even market what they do well!

While many accountants reading this may dispute this information, all they have to do to confirm the reality is to observe the extremely healthy Australian business coaching industry filling in this business advice gap. Obviously there is a huge variation in the quality of the advice given, which I am sure concerns accountants, but there are large numbers of owners getting the advice they are seeking from coaches, or the industry would not survive.

If you are sick of selling hours and want to provide greater value to your clients than just tax, Empower Business Solutions can provide a structure, a process and materials so you can get out of the undifferentiated tax game where you sell your services on price.

Learn how you can take your business knowledge which is not being valued or utilised by your clients today, and monetise it.

Read Dr Greg Chapman’s articles from the National Accountant:

Business Advisor or Bean Counter?

Doing the Business – for accountants who can’t (or hate) to sell

Learn how to sell your value rather than your hours. Why should you lose clients to ‘business advisors’ that have little real business experience, and are just better at selling themselves than you are. (Note there are some very good non-accountant advisors, but they are NOT your competition.)

Contact Empower Business Solutions and get out of the Tax Rat Race today. Find out how you can give a gift from you to your small business owner clients that they will love, and will cost you nothing.