The following is a guest post from Josh Zweig, Principal of LiveCA, Canada’s first online accounting firm allowing today’s mobile entrepreneurs to connect directly to a Chartered Accountant wherever, whenever. Their philosophy is that accounting is no longer just about doing taxes, but also about technology.
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We’re all too familiar with the yearly price raise. You receive your bill from your accountant and it’s a bit higher than last year. While some clients will simply pay the higher invoice no questions asked, others will want to know the reason for the bump. Perhaps it's an increase in the cost of living? Some new complex tax issue that came up? Or could it be the fact that a bunch of crumpled receipts in a plastic bag so creatively listed in a Microsoft Paint file shockingly took more hours to wade through?
Yet perhaps the real question you should be asking your accountant isn’t about price, but value. After all, isn’t an increase in the value of service provided the most logical reason for a price increase?
So just what value does your accountant provide? Many small business owners often see their accountant as someone who can answer their tax questions throughout the year and do their tax prep come filing season. While those services are certainly valuable, it’s hard to see why that value should increase significantly year over year. On the other hand, a service that can save business owners precious time and enable them to realize additional efficiencies can certainly add increased value to a business–particularly as that business grows and the owner’s free time diminishes.
For example, business owners are often focused on building their businesses—as they should be! Thus, they are not always aware of the changing trends in accounting technology. As technology improves (often rapidly) and more applications are built with the small business owner in mind, an accountant who stays on top of those trends can serve as a personal recommendation engine. They sit at that crucial intersection of having a quantitative understanding of a small business' financials and what new technologies could fit best, improve processes, etc. Whether it’s recommending a new scheduling application or analyzing real-time metrics through cloud accounting software, an accountant can contribute to their client’s growth year over year by suggesting the right tools. And that is the definition of value.
By concentrating on improving a client’s system each year, accountants can indeed add value to a business on an ongoing basis and provide a yearly “value raise.” Now about that bill…