Can accountants be credible, believable, plausible business advisers?

Gordon Ramsay is a credible business adviser to restaurant owners.

Gordon’s unique, aggressive, abrasive approach works for television and also works because of the credibility he holds in his specialist restaurant niche.

However…

…your style as a business advising accountant is likely to be a little less abrasive I’m guessing?!

But are you credible enough to perform well as a business adviser and earn healthy fees from your ‘business advisory’ work?

I’ve just been preparing for a workshop I’m running at the ICAEW Practice Management conference https://events.icaew.com/ShoppingCart.aspx?com=detailview&iid=413&diid=579&returncom=productlist#Detail

The workshop is titled: “Is business advisory really the future for the accountancy profession?”

I argue that the hundreds of meetings over many years with business owners (successful or otherwise) give you, as an accountant, a unique and credible experience from which to help other business owners. If only you put this experience to work for you!

Business advisory is also something I’m passionate about because of my experience with a non-advising accountant.

At a crucial point in a previous business venture I failed to get advice from my accountant when I most needed it. As a result I made a couple of naïve, ill-judged decisions that undermined the success of the business.

I now know I should have sought guidance, advice and insight from a ‘different’ style of accountant – not Gordon Ramsay style – but one focussed on helping me be successful rather than one focussed exclusively on completing my annual accounts and audit.

I’ve also witnessed dozens and dozens of other business owners insisting they want more guidance, more advice, more recommendations on how they should achieve better results. And the Federation of Small Business research also points to the importance of accountants in the lives of thousands of business owners.

Plus business advisory work is going to play a more important role in the future work, future fees and future profits of your firm in my opinion – the march of technology and Government involvement means that traditional compliance-only accounting is under threat.

And so, having worked closely (as a business adviser) with dozens and dozens of accountants over more than a dozen years I’m now certain that accountants are capable of being THE MOST credible business advisers.

So what’s your style as a business adviser?

What ways do you advise your business owner clients?

What burning questions do you have about performing a credible and valuable business advisory role with your business owner clients?

Paul Shrimpling

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