I think I’m in love with my accountant. Not because I’m attracted to him but because he is so important to the success of my business that I’m not sure what I would do without him. I have had quite a few conversations with business owners about their accountants or book keepers, and I’m always left shouting out “Oh my goodness, I love mine!”
I might just be lucky but I can send him an email asking some random question about VAT, paying dividends or PAYE and I get a response within a few hours.
He also sends me lovely little emails with advice on how to grow my business. Just this week I got an email about how to maximise my LinkedIn profile for business development. I mean, how can I not love him.
Jokes aside, accountants (and book keepers) are the unsung heroes in a small business. I think we forget about them because we don’t see them everyday but, because I know numbers are not my strong point, I rely on having a skilled, reliable and, most importantly, passionate accountant on my team.
He is interested in what we do as a business, he likes working with start-ups and he likes creatives. All of which works in my favour.
Not all accountants want to be loved by their clients. But if you do, here is my advice:
1. Be available: As a small but growing business I have a lot of questions about the best way to spend and save the money we make. It’s useful to have an accountant who is available via email or over the phone within a few hours notice.
2. Be interested: I like the fact that our accountant shares information about growth and development he finds online or through his other clients. It shows he has an interest in our business doing well. If we do well so does he, it’s a win win.
3. Be proactive: It’s my job to run my business and I don’t have time to check HMRC for the latest guidance on money, tax, VAT etc. Send updates that are relevant and useful, highlight things I have to pay attention to. The bottom-line is important; I’m not big enough to have a finance director so I rely on my accountant to suggest ways for me to manage the businesses finances effectively.
This might not be rocket science to most of you but trust me, the first question most people ask other business owners when they are starting a business is “can you recommend a good accountant?” Good ones are not always that easy to find.
But when you do, you love them, you recommend them and you are grateful for their expertise.
Natalie Campbell, FRSA, is co-founder and director of A Very Good Company , a social innovation and research agency based in Shoreditch. Their flagship campaign – A Good Week – has over 100 partner and supporter organisations and was endorsed by Sir Richard Branson in its founding year. Current clients include Virgin Media, Marks and Spencer and Channel 4.
In 2008, Natalie was awarded a PgDip in Current Affairs Journalism from City University. She has reported and produced news for The Guardian, Channel 4 News and LBC 97.3 and is also a business and enterprise commentator for BBC Radio Five Live and BBC News 24. Prior to starting this venture, she worked for Enterprise UK where she led on the development and launch of Virgin Media Pioneers, an online video-sharing platform for young entrepreneurs. In a previous role for the charity, she also launched 55 student enterprise societies, a national campaign called Students! Make Your Mark and ran enterprise workshops in Vietnam and Jamaica. Her own journey in entrepreneurship started at the age of nineteen and by twenty-one, she had raised enough capital to set up a Morgan De Toi retail franchise in Lancaster (all whilst studying for her final year at university).
Natalie is a Trustee of UnLtd, The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs and V, The Youth Volunteering Agency. She has also served a term as a Trustee for The Consortium for Street Children and The British Youth Council, where she was Vice Chair of Campaigns and Communications.
She is this week's guest editor of economia