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The Practitioner: I am a finance director (sometimes)

OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS I’ve started to notice the differences between business and practicing accountants. As you know, I have been in practice since qualifying back in the 1800s never having dabbled into the world of industry.

I went through a spell in my early years of thinking the industry grass would be greener but I was dissuaded by the senior partner at the time who told me the horror story of when he crossed into the corporate domain, only for him to see the error of his ways before too long.

In my new role of ‘urban accountant to local entrepreneurs’ I have recently spent lots of time inside clients offices acting, in effect, as their finance director.

One of the roles I have taken up is within a company who had the same in-house accountant for over 25 years.

They are still in shock as to how different I act compared to the departed accountant.

I can sum up the differences as follows:

In-house accountants:
– Act as employees who somehow feel they are doing their employer a favour.
– Always stick to the exact letter of the law.

Practicing accountants (should):
– Act as service providers, looking to please the customer as much as possible.
– Always looking for ways to help clients save tax, increase profits, improve the business.

Considering all of the above, surely then the best solution for companies is to engage an urban accountancy firm (such as ours) to act as in-house accountant on a part-time basis?

Our clients certainly seem happy with the arrangement; they get the best of both worlds really. All the processes and t-crossing skills of a good in-house accountant while getting the tax advice and value-added thinking of a practicing accountant.

There are probably some practicing accountants reading this thinking to themselves they would never want to get involved in a client’s business at such a detailed level.

Now I would never want to change your mind would I?

More work for my firm.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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