Your chance to shine

Our winners have succeeded against a backdrop of the credit crunch, a banking
crisis and a downturn transforming into a recession. They are to be commended
for still completing good work.

But it is poignant to note a survey from the Forum of Private Business and
Graydon which shows that around 70% of small businesses are turning to their
accountants as their most trusted adviser, against 47% going to their bankers.

Bank managers are being replaced by call centres but moreover there is a
perception that banks have not offered enough support in recent times. Indeed,
the statistics are supported by comments by an HSBC official on our Insider
Business webcast revealing confidence had switched to accountants. Anecdotally
there is mounting evidence that small businesses have struggled to find finance
at affordable rates, if at all, deepening the animosity towards banks.

This is a key moment for accountants. As the recession deepens and relations
with banks potentially worsen the profession will be seen as the experts to turn
to. It is a position accountants can take and hold if they focus on seeing their
clients through these difficult times.

That means seeing the current environment as an opportunity to deliver
quality services and to add substantial value to clients. Of course, accountants
cannot offer financing, but nor can the downturn just be about tacking an
insolvency practice on to your firm. What they can do is build cases to win
funding or show clients how to manage their way through the crisis.

It may turn out to be stressful and demand an extra commitment but consider
how much better off the average accountant will be if he and his organisation
and clients successfully negotiate these troubled times.

The profession’s reputation would never be higher.

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