Companies Should Sack Their Accountants


By Robert Craven, MD of The Directors' Centre

20110728_122306_YoureFired.png I certainly kicked off a storm of comments when I suggested that companies should sack their accountants if they were not contributing to their business growth.

I would now like to explain my thinking behind the remark.

There is only one direction for successful companies – and that’s forward.

It’s why start-ups often succeed at first – they are focused on their future, on their destination – and it’s also why so many companies stall after a few years, losing their momentum, and focusing on the past...


...(“Business was really good a few years ago”) more than the future.

That’s why all companies, especially owner-manager businesses, need help to maintain a forward direction and focus.

So, the question is this:

How many accountants really help their clients grow their businesses?

The answer, of course, is that some do and some don’t, but why is that?

I believe the answer is very clear: there are essentially two very different sorts of accountancy firm.

Which one are you?

Accountant Historians: as their name suggests, AHs are focused on the past, on analysing it, preserving it, but what do they then do with that information? Often, very little. When asked by clients what the figures might mean for the future, they don’t feel comfortable making predictions – and rightly so. In truth, they know very little about their clients’ businesses.

To be fair, that works for many companies – and many firms of accountants. It’s horses for courses, but the fact is that clients tend to hold AHs in comparatively low esteem. They want to minimise costs, so AHs get paid less. What’s worse, the AH service is commoditised – “anybody can do that” think the clients, so will go to a cheaper competitor. Not only do AHs, therefore, earn less, their clients... continued on page two >


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