The accountancy role is probably the most important function in any business. So why do so many SMEs settle for sub-standard accountants, when the health and success of the business rely on the information they provide?

Finance is the beating heart of your business. Its success rides upon you having meaningful and intelligent management information and robust day to day financial management with clearly defined processes. Without this, short and long-term plans cannot be made with any confidence, and your business is unable to make intelligent decisions and prepare budgets and forecasts. Successful companies need a professional finance function that not only makes the business run much more effectively but also supports its growth strategy.

Why settle for less?

As such an essential part of the business process why do so many SMEs settle for a less-than-effective accountancy function? According to research by software provider Xero, many SMEs are unsatisfied with the service that their accountant provides. Xero surveyed 1,500 SMEs, and of those that used an accountant, 70% said that they would not recommend their accountant to others and 27% reported they were likely to switch accountants. A third (34%) went as far as to advise other businesses to avoid their accountant altogether.

So, what does that say about the calibre of accountants these businesses are using and what are they doing wrong?

Industry knowledge

Your business is unique, and so are your finance requirements, but that is not to say that accountants shouldn’t have comprehensive industry knowledge and insight. At YRH, we pride ourselves on our comprehensive industry knowledge and believe it is fundamental to understanding the subtleties of your business so that we can tailor our service specifically to you and your industry. Yet 57% of the survey respondents reported that their accountant lacked adequate industry knowledge.

Advice and support

Proactively offering advice and support to our clients is something YRH feel strongly should be part of the accountancy role. It is a fundamental element of the work we do, ensuring our clients can understand, utilise and plan with the information we give them. We strive to ensure they have the confidence to make the decisions they need to drive their business forward. Yet too many accountants apparently do not, or are reluctant to offer commercial advice, as evidenced by the fact that 62% of the study’s respondents said that their accountant rarely provides adequate support. With 52% saying that their accountant was unresponsive and 55% saying that their accountants even make them feel like a low priority.

Technological knowledge

These days technology is vital for the efficiency it brings to the finance function. But a lack of technical know-how was cited by 53% of respondents as a cause for concern. At YRH we are all too aware that traditional accounting tools such as desktop software and paper receipts just do not cut it in these 21st century days of cloud accounting tools. We continuously invest time in keeping up-to-date on advances in these systems.

Adding value

Success and growth depends upon an SMEs’ ability to create plans to achieve business objectives, for which it needs access to the best financial advice it can get for its stage in the business journey. But business owners also need to feel confident that they are utilising the latest in financial tech and industry knowledge.

Ultimately, adding value for our clients is YRH’s raison d’etre. Our expertise allows SMEs to access a professional accounts function that works within the business and provides a level of care and commitment that instils trust and confidence and provides clarity and financial insight. We bridge the gap between a high street accountant who specialises in tax and compliance and the accounting professional who works in a corporate or business environment, who manages commercial day to day money management and understands the importance of providing and explaining insightful management information to support decision making.

Not only are SMEs’ accountants not positively impacting the businesses they work with but 44% of the respondents of the Xero study said that their accountants were simply not providing enough value. Now, we don’t like to boast, but if you consider some of the feedback we’ve had from our clients, it’s clear we’re doing something right. For instance, 75% of our clients said they would recommend us to other business owners. And with a current client satisfaction score 9.2 out of 10 we are clearly providing the level of service that our clients expect and deserve. Plus, on ReviewYoo our reviewers have given us an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. And that’s not all. We have a wealth of testimonials that tell us that our clients are happy with what we do for them.

Your Right Hand’s input into our business has been remarkable. Not only have they entirely lifted the financial management burden from our shoulders thereby allowing us to spend more time on our core activities, but they also consistently provide sound strategic input, based on their extensive experience of working with companies just like ours.” Paul Greenhalgh, Founder, Skillwise UK.

The reasons the SMEs in the study give for their dissatisfaction make it clear to see why they would not recommend their accountants to other business owners. But if these accountants are not providing the support a business needs, then how is that business able to thrive? The importance of investing in an accountancy function that positive impacts the commercial success of the business and the happiness of the business owner cannot be overstated if you are to see healthy growth and a streamlined system in your business. It is the only way to see the road ahead and to confidently plan for it.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help with robust day to day financial management then why not get in touch.