I’ve just been reading in Accountancy Age about how a senior official at HSBC considers that Accountants are better at advising distressed businesses than are banks.

Piyali Williams, head of professional proposition at HSBC is reported to have also said that:

“Accountants are in a better position than banks… We’ve always viewed them [accountants] and our customers have always viewed them as a more trusted source of…independent advice.”

That shouldn’t surprise anyone of course.  It’s as much a reflection on how business people view their bank manager – even assuming they know who it is.

My first question for readers of this blog however is what are you doing to build on this presumption?

Here’s a few more:

  • Are you continuing to run your practice as you did before the credit crash?
  • Have you sat back and considered what the impact could be on your business?
  • On your clients’ businesses?
  • What additional demands will they make?
  • What additional services will they expect?
  • Will you provide these within your standard annual fee?
  • What will clients pay extra for?
  • Can you get in first and make clear that additional services are available for an additional fee?
  • Can you highlight the benefits of them engaging you to provide those additional services – and sooner rather than later?
  • Are you really a business adviser or ‘just’ an accountant who records, reports and focuses on what’s already happened?

As the economy moves into recession I believe we will see a sharp contrast in the way that accountants evidence their skills.  Will everyone whose business cards describe the firm as Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers be able to evidence the truth in that description?