Why you need the right accountancy firm from day one
Why you need a progressive accountancy firm behind you from day one.
Whether you are looking to exit or attract major investment, as an ambitious founder or leader you need to assemble a team focused on growth.
Your senior management – as well as any outside partners or agencies you work with – must be able to make the bold strategic decisions that nurture your expansion and development.
Yet when it comes to finance, a surprising number of organisations place very little importance on their selection of accountancy firm – going for convenient, low cost, conservative options and putting an innovative, forward looking attitude well down the list of requirements. That’s a major mistake. From day one, a relationship with a multi-skilled, progressive accountancy firm should be a priority for any business wishing to thrive.
A culture of numbers
Regular readers of our blog will know we are strong believers in taking a transparent and positive approach to your finances and aligning your company culture with how you run your finances.
All departments should be fully bought into a company’s mission and philosophy. If an exit strategy is your primary objective, then you need to hire experienced and proactive accountants that support that.
There are plenty of competent, trustworthy accountants out there who can keep your books ticking over with efficiency, but they may not be the ones who have the experience or passion you need to get you where you want to go.
You need to be asking if your potential accountancy firm understand the journey to exit and what buyers are looking for? Are they able to pull out the key drivers that investors are interested in to help get them on board? These questions are critical.
Don’t compromise on partners
Hiring a firm that ticks off the boxes listed above may well be more expensive than going with a smaller, local firm. But if your business is built for success it will ultimately pay off. Furthermore, mid-sized firms aren’t always as expensive as you think. If your company has real potential, the best firms will often be prepared to invest in you, understand the pains of bootstrapping and offer you the right support.
Larger firms can offer a wider range of support beyond basic compliance, enhance your credibility with investors and may be able to introduce you to the right people to help you grow.
Investigate all options, even if at first it may seem a firm will be out of your price range.
Think clouds, not calculators
Technology has transformed accounting just as much as it has any other function. Utilising the advantages of today’s cloud accounting systems – such as real-time financial reporting – is essential.
Not only does technology make it simpler to stay atop your finances, boost cash flow and make better, more informed decisions, it also makes it easier to communicate your financial health to outside partners or investors. The excellent visualisation tools that now exist can help you formulate strategy both quicker and with more accuracy than ever before. Ensure potential partners are embracing and making the best of the latest technology.
An example of that approach can be found in Mercer & Hole Chartered Accountants – a firm ValueMaker works with with when helping clients looking to outsource their accounting and financing.
“We utilise cloud accounting as part of our outsourcing service for SMEs,” says, Ross Lane, General Practice Partner at Mercer & Hole. “Tapping into this type of technology allows SME owners to spend far less time on daily administrative tasks – freeing them to focus on running their business. Cloud tools can also make sure businesses are best-placed for the future - both in terms of commercial decision making and compliance with the ever-changing tax landscape.”
A taxing question
The complexities of the tax system can be overwhelming, but tax compliance is only a small part of what your accountancy firm should excel in.
An up-to-date understanding of Research and Development (R&D) tax credits is one of the best ways to drive growth. R&D tax credits are a blind spot for lots of companies – especially those who use smaller accountancy firms. Some assume schemes won’t apply to their area of expertise or that they are not a large enough firm to qualify for the benefits they can bring.
The potential cash flow they can help open up and the opportunity they bring should not be overlooked. Ensure your accountant specialises in this field.
Progressive, not aggressive
Many organisations are understandably nervous when accountants start talking about ways to make major indents into their tax bill. But the key is to identify the difference between aggressive and progressive accountants. Overly aggressive number crunchers should be given a wide berth. Potential missteps, failed audits and needless complications just are not good for either your peace of mind or the smooth, long-term growth of your company.
Reckless accounting – such as massaging revenue figures - will almost always be identified by smart investors carrying out audits when weighing up whether to come on board. The best investors will steer clear of a company which can’t truly stand behind its figures.
Progressive accountants are the ones that creatively – but legitimately – look at how best they can work within the tax system to open up opportunities for your business.
Paying for themselves
Developing a relationship with a multi-skilled accountancy firm as early as possible in your business’s journey will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. The cost of getting it wrong, could be a lot higher.
If you would like to find our more about identifying or working with the right accountancy firm, please get in touch with us at