What’s your approach to the provision of business advice?

Jan 30, 2012 | Business Strategy

When it comes to the provision of business advice, I’ve previously suggested that accountants serving business clients, fall into one of four categories:

1 – It’s a no-go area: The accountant’s business experience is limited and perhaps they don’t feel that confident with the idea of providing business advice.

2 – Personal experience: The accountant is willing and able to share their own experiences of business over the years, perhaps drawn in part from working with other clients. Those accountants who have worked in (non-accountancy) businesses will also have a different type of experience to draw on.

3 – What others say: The accountant offers advice based on what they have read in books, magazines and websites and possibly what they recall from their studies and from attending seminars and conferences. However, their level of interest in developing this area of skill is much lower than their desire to keep up to date with technical knowledge.

4 – A systemised approach: The accountant has bought into a programme that assists them in adopting a structured approach to the provision of business advice and either they actively promote the service to their clients or they shy away from doing so and quit the programme.

Some commentators have provided near constant pressure over many years to encourage accountants to adopt the systemised approach. Nevertheless I understand that less than 10% of accountants in the UK have bought into the idea.  The vast majority are evidently not convinced. Why is that I wonder?

Most accountants seem to prefer one or more of the first three approaches described above. Perhaps their clients do not seem to be demanding a more formalised approach (or maybe the accountant perceives that their clients are not willing to pay for it).

What do you think?

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