Remembering you’re the boss
A client of mine referred one of their business associates to me recently who was in the same business as them and was having no luck finding the right bookkeeper for their business.
Even the one employed by their accountant had not worked out. I had to conclude that this business was either very demanding and difficult to please or they were just not getting their needs met.
Even during the initial conversation on the telephone I could sense the desperation to get themselves sorted as they had no idea where they were financially other than what they saw in the bank.
I visited them at their premises and it is a lovely little business, offering a prestige service that has been held back by uncertainty and the director feeling overwhelmed.
The first thing the director did was get their accountant on the telephone to discuss what he believed they needed. As it turned out he felt they should have a part time bookkeeper that worked from their premises a few days a week.
I explained that my business was an outsource service and on site bookkeeping was a different type of service altogether but I was happy to have an informal chat about their situation, maybe I could give them some pointers they could use in the meantime.
As the discussion progressed, it turned out that they personally did not want to use up precious desk space, as office space was tight. The software they had was inadequate and they preferred to spend the money on software specific to the operations side of the business. Not to mention that they had never received regular updates on their financial situation. In addition they had a VAT Return due and they had no idea whether it had been done and if they were supposed to pay anything to the VAT man.
I was then introduced to the lady who ran the office and as we talked I knew they needed a service like mine and so did she. But even as they asked me when could I start sorting them out, charges, etc I could sniff the sense of disloyalty in the air brought on by doing something opposite to the instructions of their accountant.
It is amazing how we make crucial, often life changing decisions in our businesses all the time, but can be so susceptible to the opinions of others just because we believe we are out of our depth in an area.
As with any service or advice from professionals, listen to what they have to offer, respect their experience and then make your own decision. Ultimately all roads will lead back to you no matter what anybody else says.
If you are uncomfortable with a situation or do not think it is really meeting your needs; feel free to express it, you are the boss, you are the client.
We in professional services are sometimes so convinced of our expertise in an area that it can be easy to lose sight of the simple task of making a client happy and assume that a client does not know what is best. In fairness to the accountant I think he believed it was what they wanted because they had never expressed anything else. All it took was a conversation where they felt free to express themselves and a wealth of information came out.
Your accountant has much to offer, not just in compliance, but in expertise and guidance. And if you get a really good one they are worth their weight in gold as business advisors.
But remember you are an entrepreneur and while you may not be a tax expert, you are the expert when it comes to your business, trust yourself.
Have any of you found yourself feeling like the child in your business when dealing with professionals and consultants, how did you handle it?