On his blog Dennis Howlett has been commenting on the suggestion made on another blog(!) that accountants cost money, they don’t make money. And that

 “if your accountant is costing you more money than she is earning, saving, or generating, then either you have a rubbish accountant or you have difficulty tracking your costs and benefits. Of course, sometimes the latter is caused by the former, but that’s another story entirely.”

Dennis notes that:

“Compliance has to be offered at factory prices because it has been commoditized and it is being outsourced. “

I don’t fully agree with this. What matters most is whether your clients perceive that you are doing a good job for them. Whether clients perceive that you are willing to fight their corner. Whether clients perceive that you are saving them money. I wrote a more detailed entry on this blog in August 2006 on the related subject of ‘perception is reality‘. I was reminded of it when I read Dennis’s comments above.

In a similar vein, your client’s perception about whether or not you are saving them money or costing them money is determined NOT by what you do but by what you tell them and show them that you do.

Clients don’t understand what accountants do. They need to be told how much their tax bill has been reduced EACH YEAR as a result of the accountant’s work. Accountants who tell/show their clients the comparatives each year will have happy clients. Those accountants who just do their best work each year and tell the client what tax to pay will have unhappy clients.

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