How can you tell whether an accountancy firm is matched to the needs of your business? According to Jono Wilson of Barnett & Turner, it’s worth looking at the way in which they’re organised and whether they have a clear sense of the values of their business. Core values are very important in any business, but when you’re working in a professional capacity with a client’s finances, they take on a particular significance. If you’re considering which accountancy practice to partner with, it’s worth asking whether the firm has given serious consideration to the principles that guide their own business.
On a basic level each practice will deliver very similar services, but how they deliver them will define a client’s relationship with their accountant.
Of course, every firm will have its own emphasis and language. But the kinds of things I would personally look out for are trustworthiness, openness and honesty. The very nature of the profession means that these values have to be explicit. And then you will look for assurances about their day-to-day operation and the way in which they will interact with you. I would expect to hear reference to teamwork, excellence and service.
When you drill down further, we come to some very practical issues. How exactly is the level of service maintained? Compartmentalisation in a professional firm can be important when dealing with larger clients, but for an SME, it’s often confusing and counter-productive.
If there’s a danger of being passed from pillar to post and finding that you never seem to get the same person dealing with your affairs, you might legitimately ask the question as to whether this is in your own best interests.
At Barnett & Turner, one key figure (often me as managing partner) takes responsibility for managing each of our client relationships. That key figure can then get to understand our client’s business better and see the bigger picture.
Values are of course at the heart of any good relationship - after that, it’s down to service. If you don’t want to get lost in a confusing relationship, it’s best to ask a few pertinent questions up front!
If you would like to discuss anything related to this article please do not hesitate to call Barnett & Turner on 01623 659659 or email Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org