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Shaukat Adam Khalid
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I wrote the stuff below the dotted line and then realised i don’t know anything about situation or what you mean by “Driving the business forward”. I Also don’t what you are willing to put in (not just money) to get the accountant’s respect.

yes, clients are discriminated according to their average spend and business acumen. A smart accountant isn’t just looking for a client. the idea is future business deals. that’s where the real pay off comes ie creating wealth and not just revenue.

Talk to at least 5 accountants and ask them “why should i do business with you over any and every available option”.

If they tell you that they have great service, price and quality. ask them to elaborate. Examples of great service? ask them about their value proposition. what does a business relationship mean to them? you have an internal BS detector. Use it,

I don’t think accounts should be easily available. A good accountant is in demand and also has a life. Hard to believe, but underneath their stiff suit & tie, they are humans just like us ;)

Good luck

Here’s what i would ask:

1. what’s the difference between strategy and tactic?

2. what can you do to help me generate predictable revenue and a scalable business?

3. Can you help me with fund raising like the big firms? what about sourcing team members to help me grow?

4. How do you monitor the progress of my business? What kind of metrics do you deem critical. Why?

5. Are you able to help me or refer me to someone who can draft a marketing strategy that produces tangible and measurable results?

6. Do you have expertise in turnaround strategy? What is the average turnaround time and cost excluding outlays?

7. Are you a business advisor? What does that really mean? To what extent can you help me? What are the things you cannot assist me with and who can?

8. What is the average and median turnover of your client base. This will give you an indication of when it’s time to move on to another accountant or not to choose them at all in the first place.

9. How do you manage risk and leverage innovation at the same time?

Now, i will admit that some of these questions cannot be answered even by CPAs and CAs but their answers will reveal their business acumen, kind of network they have and separate the propeller heads from entrepreneurs.

You will also note that i did not ask anything about structure, SMSF, etc A good accountant should already know that. You should also be doing your homework. If you want to be treated seriously by any advisor (even your doctor), learn the basic e.g 3 financial statements, types of ratios & other metrics, business lingo, etc

Don’t palm things off to your advisor. They are there to do stuff you don’t have the time to do but you should have some working knowledge to gain respect and priority in their eyes.

An accountant is considered the most influential among all professionals. A good accountant will go well beyond their core service. They will be entrepreneurial, sending you articles and material on business growth, introducing you to people in their network or at least fellow clients, etc

Be prepared to pay at least $250 / hr or per project. There is a very real possibility that you will have to cycle through a few accountants to get one that suits you. This applies to all professionals.