ACCOUNTANTS are the most trusted business advisor, following a breakdown in honesty between companies and their bank managers.
A fifth (21%) of businesses say they are more open and honest with their accountants than their bank managers, according to a Sage Omnibus survey of more than 1,000 of its customers.
Exactly half, 50%, of those surveyed believe their accountant provides the most valuable business advice, with 4% believing this to be the case with friends, 2% family, and bank managers sloping in at 2%, alongside solicitors 2%.
The latest statistic is indicative of the detachment of business owners with their banks.
Honesty is also the best policy, with 15% of small business owners also claiming they are more honest with their accountant than even friends, family or spouse.
About 44% turn to their accountants first for business advice, 21% to the internet and 18% to business groups or Chamber of Commerce associations.
Jim Scott (pictured), managing director of Sage Accountants Division, said: "Accountants have played a key role in the success of many businesses, but it is in challenging times that the value they bring really comes to the fore. More business owners than ever are turning to accountants for guidance as the regulatory landscape evolves, and the fact that over one in seven are more honest with their accountant than they are with their nearest and dearest underlines just how valued their counsel and advice really is.
"Businesses that view accountants more as trusted partners and less as mere service providers when accounts need to be filed are also better placed to make the most of new technologies, including cloud-based software and mobile apps that provide access to up-to-the-minute information anytime, anywhere."
Accountants may very well give businesses good advice on the running of their business and cash flow, but certain exchange control matters with regards foreign loans etc, need to be handled by the exchange control experts at banks.... so banks have to be consulted at another level.
Posted by: Dawn van der Merwe, 10 Dec 2012 | 13:37
It has touched my heart to see an article that Accountant are more trusted business advisor than any one else. This is a true scenerio and it shall stand to be true over ages because accounting is an heart of any business success or failure. Those who handle their accounting in a SMART way they succeed in business, those who have been ignoring they need to open their eyes now. Those who have neglected accounting they failed on the way and they have lost history of their business, its time to be proactive for every business just to make sure that accounts are properly maintained and managed. By Symphorian Malingumu, A Professional Accountant in Business.
Posted by: Symphorian S.Malingumu, 10 Dec 2012 | 17:21
Totally agree with this - banks have lost credibility and no one else came close. Our one comment is that many services provided by accountants are quite old fashioned. We use new SaaS technology to rectify this.
Posted by: John Stoddart, 10 Dec 2012 | 21:44
Accountant's knowledge on day to day business is the key source for the progress of the company, they very well know where the cash come from in which particular field.
Posted by: karunakaran, 11 Dec 2012 | 04:40
I believe this is true. The Accountant should know the business or company more than the banker and hence relying on his advise for pertinent financial decision making is the best.
Posted by: Jonathan Lartey, 11 Dec 2012 | 09:27
Having spent the last decade+ working with CPA'a and thier client, I agree. The accountant knows the big and small picture of a company or clients situation. Understand the problems and is the best position to offer independent advice and help choose partners that fit the clients needs, personality and drive teams.
Independence + Client Knowledge are key.
Posted by: Dusty Farber, 11 Dec 2012 | 18:47
I truly think that is true that accountants are the most trusted business advisers. The clients are first coming to their accountants for getting the advise and compare it with other sources and then make their decision regarding their business. Accountants spend more time and energy to go true details and give their best advise with honesty.
Posted by: Jessie Hadavi, 11 Dec 2012 | 19:36
I think the reason for this phenomenon has not so much do with level of competence but rather with the nature of the profession. Ie, professional accounting associations impose ethical and regulatory requirements on their members which if violated, can result in a destroyed career. Bank advisors are less scared to screw up.
Posted by: CPA,CA, 12 Dec 2012 | 15:41
As an Accountant I can say we have seen it most if not all. We have seen other clients rise and fall, so we are able to cast sound judgement. Consultancy is one of our major role. Most time we give it freely and honestly to existing clients. Unlike the banks we have no hidden interest in advising the client on the best options, since we look the actual performance of the business both historically and reliable projections.
Posted by: Dahlia Erharuyi, 12 Dec 2012 | 19:52
I spent 15+ years with a large CPA consulting firm and now as a banker. Unfortunately it's all true. Both your accountant and banker should be your adviser so it's so important to pick the right one. If your banker does not come to you with advise - fire them! Interview other bankers - the ones that dig into your business and ask good hard questions are the ones that will become a good adviser. Then introduce them to your accountant and sit back and watch all the great things that can happen. I've seen in happen many times!
Posted by: Paul Van Erem , 13 Dec 2012 | 19:50
Being as an accountant I can say that accountant can give advice about pro and cons of any project to be handle in future by his employer. But, he can give advice only and accepting it or not is upto his employers
Posted by: rakesh kumar, 14 Dec 2012 | 08:19
Alphonso Capone was arrested on charge of evasion of taxes.
The meticulous accountant Frank Wilson who has casually come across confiscated registration books of one of underground institutions Capone. Having identified on handwriting of one of the accountants, filling books, Wilson found it - and forced to give evidences on process against Capone.
Posted by: Golovatskikh Aleksandr , 14 Dec 2012 | 10:10
I think as in many accounting practices, we are in the companies books a lot, so we know where every dime is going. When accountants work this closely with their clients, any good firm will give advice and suggestions to help the business grow, therefore overtime we have built that trusted advisor relationship. I think bankers still definitely have a role here, and I think it is more due to our relationship that companies turn to the accountant first, rather than a breakdown in honesty between the company and their bank managers.
Posted by: Jacqueline, 14 Dec 2012 | 15:44
The business has their financials intact n managed by accountanats. However, accountants play vital role as business advisors still in many companies they r least trusted then their other peers.
Posted by: gourang, 17 Dec 2012 | 02:55
It is true and admitted fact that Accountants are more reliable authorities than Bankers.Banks sanction loans and advance financials assistance relying upon Balance Sheet prepared by Accountants.Business Community depends on Accountants policies not Banks.Banks sell money but Accountant knows how to utilize it in favor of its Employer.
Posted by: Ch. Muhammad Yousaf, 17 Dec 2012 | 14:35
Accountants are better at telling you what happened in the past.. Economists are better at telling you what will happen in the future (more valuable).
Posted by: L, 17 Dec 2012 | 17:54
Definitely Accounting is the Life Blood of Business. An Experienced Accountant knows each and every point where cost controlling measures can implement.
The Accountant is the only position who can be a support to the Entrepreneurs and can show Loyalty to Business since he know every thing about Business. The Possession Accounting itself is Business and since it is his part of life he can loyal and sincere towards the Company. I am proud to be an Accountant!!!
Posted by: VINOD KRISHNAN NAIR, 18 Dec 2012 | 13:23
As a bookkeeper I know full well how important the guidance of a C.A. is at any level of business. It is also very important that business owners have a reliable network of financial advisors. In today's blazing fast market place it is crucial for business owners to not only have an accessible C.A. but also a knowledgeable bookkeeper either on staff or as a consultant. Bookkeepers are in touch with not only C.A.s but also bank representatives and taxation agencies as a living link between a business enterprise and its financial service resources.
Posted by: Donald McCauley, 18 Dec 2012 | 17:26
According to my experience an Accountant can only give awareness to the various departments in connection with financial status of the organisation. However the latest changes in Rules and regulations and method of book keeping etc. the accountants and his sub staff should be well traind to enable them to inter act with various departments to the betterment of the organisation.
Posted by: C.L. RAVIKUMAR, 19 Dec 2012 | 03:44
I trust my account easily more than a bank. However I have yet to meet an accountant who can advise on sales and marketing practice.
They may be able to identify that you need to be better in a certain discipline but in some areas they really need to pass it over to those who know better.
Posted by: Peter Ramsden, 19 Dec 2012 | 16:36
Yes accountants should be trusted to give advice on the money side of a business. If they can't be trusted why does anyone use them?
But NO, what about the non-money parts of a business. I'd go to a specialist marketeer, branding expert, IT expert, operation consultant... Not an accountant.
Accountants (being specialists) should keep within their particular expetise and to leave all other advice to the other specialists.
Unfortunately accountants don't know enough about the other specialism to know when to advise to call others in.
Promoting accountants as the best source of buisness advice is a VERY DANGEROUS approach
Posted by: Michael Huxley, 19 Dec 2012 | 16:43
I also a practising professional accountant, i am handling many small companies, Traders, Builder, Service providers. I also agree with your survey. Because it is proved in my case also.
Posted by: Nitesh Suthar, 21 Dec 2012 | 02:17
Accountants are the key business driver in each and every entity. they give a company financial advisory on profitability and growth. the Executive and management have confidence in them
Posted by: Emmanuel Badza, 21 Dec 2012 | 07:39
This is really true in my case as a practicing accountant in France most of my clients are
Srilankans ans Indians settled in France. In addition to the complexity in business, language barrier also adds more confusion. Hence, they consider me like their elder brother or one of the family member naturally trust is built
Posted by: SURESH VICTOR, 22 Dec 2012 | 00:54
Not really surprising!
Bank managers are not usually seen as independent.
Posted by: Ian Harris, 30 Dec 2012 | 08:46
This trend is on the rise in South Africa as banks continue to be more impersonal as a result of inefficient call centres which fail to deal with requests quickly and efficiently, so that to even to get to see or speak with your Bank Manager is nearly impossible for the small business owner
Posted by: Maurice Jones, 01 Jan 2013 | 04:50
I agree, to the survey, Accountants are the most trusted financial advisor to the business. With their overall knowledge not only in financial recording but consulting in financial matters, Accountants are the best professionals to guide the business.
Posted by: Romeo C. Blanquera, CPA, 02 Jan 2013 | 19:19
...as very few accountants & even fewer bank managers are business-savvy. They are desk bound $ jockeys. Business success is about much more than the $$$$
Posted by: Grahame Craig, 03 Jan 2013 | 03:16
As a financial information expert and trained to maintain the highest possible ethical standards in a professional-client relationship and objectivity, an accountant is in a better position than bankers and managers to give business advice even on some of the non-financial aspect of a firm.
Posted by: Fabian F. Agruda Jr., 04 Jan 2013 | 09:45
It happens when the company's accountant is educated enough to show the correct way in accordance of his/her knowledge of GAAP /GAAS : factually, to make any actions under the law, not against it. The result is you feel yourselves more comfortable when your accountant is a part of your thinking.
Posted by: nadezda, 04 Jan 2013 | 14:12
The results of the survey may be indicative of the past working relationship between the Company and it's bankers and accountants. It therefore means that accountants have delivered better than bankers in the past. Hence the Accountants must maintain this Standard. Hats off to our Accountants
Posted by: Gumisai Jacob Gutu, 08 Jan 2013 | 09:52
I am dismayed that the business owner often views the accountant as the more trusted financial advisor when given a choice between banker and accountant. If a banker is truly proactive, collaborative and wants to know the business, he should be a partner with the accountant in working together for the business owner. Bankers should be consultative in their roles, not just order takers. Business owners! You decide who your banker is, not the other way around.
Posted by: Lin Fender, 14 Feb 2013 | 19:34
I am biased because I work with the UK’s largest network of accountants, so I can only comment from my side of the fence.
We have noticed that SMEs have increasingly requested business advice as a service from our accountants and have seen this role of an accountant change.
The idea of walking in and having a one to one conversation with your bank manager is a thing of the past, which is why our clients contact their accountant who more often than not can refer an experienced financial advisor. And according to research, 84% of people trust a referral. A happy accountant with increased business and a happy client for a referral to a professional! You could argue that we actually don’t need the bank manager anymore which is possibly a reason for the decline?
(This comment has been moderated)
Posted by: Henry, 20 Aug 2013 | 16:45
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