The profession has long faced fee pressures of the sort not seen by other disciplines. All too often the annual meeting with clients becomes a game of poker over the fee.
According to Norman Younger FCCA, founder and director of Maximiti, this points to clients failing to make proper use of their accountant for business advice and unfairly relegating them to the role of compliance clerks.
So where does the fault lie? Given that Maximiti also found that 68% of firms claimed that they saw themselves as “trusted business advisers” it would appear that this message is not being articulated adequately to clients or that clients simply do not believe that accountants have the commercial nous needed for the front line of business.
“I think many small firm owners would be surprised about (a) how much practical experience many accountants actually have – after all a practice is also a business, complemented by the fact many partners have external business interests , and (b) how their experiences in advising a wide range of businesses can be easily applied across all sectors” adds Younger.
Clearly there is an expectations gap but the question is whether enough firms are grasping the nettle to push themselves forward as people who can truly add value to their clients’ businesses.
Younger ends off by predicting that as change sweeps the profession many will have no choice but to do so in order to keep the lights on