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What do finance directors really want from you?

Published on 30th December 2019 - Last update on 12th January 2020

Your role as an accountant is changing fast. Digitisation and automation have already changed your daily routine and the way you use your time. Yes, the old procedural basics will still be important - but if you are honest, you are already taking care of them in a fraction of the time it used to take thanks to technology. The pace of this change is likely to increase even more over the next few years, when using digital systems to replace paper-based systems becomes universal with clients.

Clients will always need an accountant to take care of meeting the rules and regulations and to see the opportunities that no AI expert system ever will. But - apart from the signature on the bottom of the annual accounts – how will your accountancy firm provide value for money for the financial directors who engage you?

It’s personal

One answer is, of course, to do something no robot ever can – to use interpersonal skills. When trading conditions are challenging, and often when they are not, an understanding of the challenges the individuals in a client's business face can be as valuable as knowing the financial challenges to the business as a whole.

Building rapport with clients means creating an atmosphere of trust. That can be vital when you have to report a potential problem or want to suggest a solution.

It can also help on an everyday basis. If the CFO feels comfortable picking up their phone for a quick social chat – and casually mentions a worry such as cashflow issue from a late-paying client – you can be in a better position to provide the help he or she may need.

Your clients need to feel you are there to help them, and feel comfortable turning to you in difficult times and challenging scenarios – and when the going gets better that you can help them see where opportunities lie.

Looking to add value to your clients with business funding whilst also adding a new revenue stream for your practice? Find out more about partnering with Rangewell

It’s not all on the balance sheet

Taking the time to understand their business and the challenges it faces that are not on the balance sheet is essential. Taking the time to understand issues with international supply chains, new technology for products and in the production process - and the direction your client's business is taking - can all pay dividends.

An appreciation of your client's business model and the market in which it operates is absolutely vital if your practice is going to provide an effective service. With access to so much sensitive information about the businesses you work with, you can provide an external and unbiased – but, above all, expert – view on business-critical and complex matters in when a client needs to get an expert opinion on the best course of action to ensure success.

Being called in to provide an expert opinion may not even be billable – but it will certainly be worthwhile for your practice to be part of a client’s decision-making process.

Adding real value

The image and reputation of a ‘big four’ firm may prove invaluable when it comes to strategic work such as growing or selling the business. But engaging a high-cost accountancy firm to simply provide basic procedural services is an expensive luxury.

When costs are important - as they are to 99% of clients - there is plenty of scope when your practice is smaller to add real value with a personal approach. Not only can you afford to go the extra mile to provide the service your clients expect and need you can provide extra services – over and above the basics of the accountancy role.

Working with the CFO to find funding solutions is one area where you can add value to your relationship.

He or she may have built up an image of you as a financial guru, always ready to provide an informed opinion and definitive answers to financial questions. Being able to offer solutions when it is a question of external funding may be crucial.

This, of course, may be a challenge for you - the business funding market is a maze, and you need to be sure of getting the right kind of product before you consider shopping around for the lender with the most competitive rate. 

At Rangewell, we can provide the guidance you must have to negotiate this funding maze and give your clients the answers they need. 

We are experts in all aspects of business finance. Not only do we know all the different types of business funding available, we know the lenders who can offer the most competitive rates and those who may be the most appropriate when the challenges are greater than usual.

We can be a powerful asset for your practice to call on. We can work in partnership with you, and help find the funding your clients need. Loans, Asset Finance, Growth or any other kind of finance - when your clients are ready to take their business further, and the CFO comes to you for help, you can simply turn to us for the solutions you need. 

Not only are all our services free for you to call on as an accountant partner, but we also make no charge to your clients.

To find out more about a working partnership between your practice and Rangewell, and how it can help you to find better answers to your clients' funding needs, simply call us on 020 3637 4150. Our service is free.

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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

Content writer