What value does your accountant bring to your business?
Interview with Craig from The Project Guys –
In this episode, Craig speaks with Andrew More, Owner and Managing Director of More CA, a chartered accountancy firm. Andrew has set out to add value to his services by not just helping his clients with compliance but also offering them real world advice, assistance, and guidance.
When asked about the kinds of problems Andrew helps his clients with, he explains that his practice puts an emphasis on the ethos of collaboration. This involves brainstorming with his clients to solve issues and problems they are faced with. They work with technology to facilitate processes and ensure accuracy in the figures, along with other specialists to help improve their clients’ businesses.
Unlike the run-of-the-mill accounting firms most business people see once or twice a year, Andrew is more hands on. He engages with his clients on a more regular basis and encourages them to ask questions no matter how simple they may seem.
Andrew has had to differentiate More CA from the rest of the traditional accounting firms by adding more value to his clients. One way More CA has done that was by educating the practice’s clients on what they must expect from their accountants. As he starts to work with his clients, he asks four basic questions such as
- What is your structure?
- What are your issues?
- How do we contact you?
- What are your goals?”
More CA’s purpose in asking the clients what their goals are is to determine whether their personal goals and business goals are in alignment. Once they understand what their client’s goals are, they can advise them on the manner of which will be relevant to helping them achieve their goals.
When asked about what he enjoys about being in business, Andrew mentioned that he enjoyed working with his clients. In his previous job, he knew he could offer them more than what the same old accountancy model offered.
Andrew feels that he has succeeded in what he has achieved. However, he says his goals are constantly changing. These goals push you to be better and not content with who you are. He reviews his goals about once a year. His assistant, Claire, holds him accountable for his goals. Sometimes, his friends and family do the same. Most of the time, he engages in introspection and what he calls “self-review.” Bouncing ideas around with a trusted friend or colleague. From these discussions, he is able to get clarity and allows him to identify what to prioritize and what not to prioritize. It comes back to the Paretos Principle, also known by other monikers such as the Law of the Vital Few, the 80-20 Rule, and the Principle of Factor Sparsity. Basically, it states that approximately 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes.
The one thing Andrew has been able to uphold in his professional demeanour and personality has been developing his empathy. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to understand where they are coming from in terms of their matters, issues, accidents, and failures. This hit home for Andrew because it made him realize that nobody comes into work to do a bad job. In the same manner, none of the clients are out there to harm you as well. You cannot be judgmental. Things need to be taken from their intentions that were made.
Turning his clients into aspirational go getters takes a lot of work as well. The clients need to understand what their preferences, their approach to risk, whether conservative or moderate, and what they want to achieve.
Andrew’s advice for small business owners in New Zealand is that if your accountant hasn’t asked you what they’re trying to achieve or what your goals are, then you’re not getting your money’s worth and you probably have to look around. He advises small business owners to work closely with their accountants and allow them to help the business owners achieve their goals.
When asked what the difference was between bookkeepers and accountants, Andrew says it really comes down to the price. Accountants are now sharing a lot of their business with bookkeepers. Chartered accountants, however, have more to offer in terms of knowledge, educational background, and experience. Offering value added services to the clients sets More CA apart from the rest. When the client needs advice, wants to do anything important, wants to grow, has plans to grow and succeed the business, and the like, he or she would need a chartered accountant.
Mistakes that are regularly made by business owners include budgeting for tax. Many people don’t do that. Some businesses have gone under because of their failure to budget for taxes. Second, business owners need to have goals or connect to something. These goals need to be written and shared. This starts that collaborative movement in your business and in life. It also allows you to achieve or realize something that was totally unreachable.
One way to do this is to collaborate. Andrew considers that as the key. With the help of specialists, business owners will be able to focus on what matters to them.