Your clients who are sole traders or small business owners constantly juggle different tasks, from marketing to inventory and cash flow management. Unless these clients are in tune with accounting practices, their financial management will likely cause them the most stress.
That’s where they need you –– their accountant –– to come in and save the day.
This guide will help you provide better service for your clients by explaining what accounting clients want in the modern business world, including:
- Accountants doubling as business advisors
- Clear and confident communication
- Up-to-date accounting software
- Complete knowledge of Making Tax Digital
- Regular updates, news and information
- Help to work more tax-efficiently
What do your accounting clients want from you?
We already know your clients want you to crunch numbers and help with their tax returns and other financial reports. But in the modern climate, clients expect much more from their accountants.
We’ve listed six things accounting clients expect from accountants in the modern world:
1) Double as a business advisor
A couple of decades ago, clients were happy with their accountants just doing the number crunching and financial reporting. These days, clients also want their accountants to offer advice on topics relating to accounting, finance, and even business.
With technology advancing at such a rapid pace, your clients may also rely on you to tell them where to invest their money. According to research by Sage, 82% of accounting clients expect their accountants to offer advisory services on relevant accounting and finance technologies.
Advisory services will be the primary growth driver for accountants this year and beyond. Doubling as an advisor will allow you to provide the added value to your clients that will make them choose you over your competitors.
2) Communicate clearly and with confidence
Whether your clients are sole traders or run a large corporation, clear and confident communication is key to retaining them. Business owners, big or small, want to feel sure that you have the accounting side under control, so they can focus on other tasks.
Your clients also expect you to proactively keep them informed about their finances, including tax estimates and invoice statuses. It’s important they feel reassured that everything is up to date and running smoothly.
Try to keep the financial jargon to a minimum and communicate complex accounting terms to your clients in a way that’s easy to understand.
3) Use modern accounting software
2020 accelerated technology adoption as companies scrambled for digital solutions to their traditional business procedures. Today, the business world is more digitised than ever, and companies will continue expanding their digital footprint.
As accountants, you’re expected to evolve and keep pace with the changes by keeping your accounting software up-to-date. Countingup’s intuitive accounting software allows you to store data securely and manage your clients’ finances easily if they have a Countingup business current account.
4) Demonstrate knowledge of Making Tax Digital
Since Making Tax Digital (MTD) has been around, you’ve probably become very familiar with it. However, your clients may still find it confusing and turn to you for guidance and advice on managing MTD.
While MTD may not apply to some of your clients right now, it’s still something they need to be aware of. As their accountant, they expect you to have the answers and help them alter their business processes to easily transition to MTD when they need to.
The Countingup app is MTD compatible and makes it easy for your small business clients to keep on top of their accounting admin, saving you time and stress when it comes to tax returns. Find out more here.
5) Send regular updates, news and information
These days, clients consider their accountants a go-to source for reliable information about finance and accounting. Whether it’s a new government scheme being rolled out or a new tax coming into force, your clients will turn to you for advice.
As an accountant, it’s a good idea to take a proactive approach and keep your clients informed without contacting you. You know your clients and their businesses, so if you notice something that might apply to them, let them know right away.
Additionally, keep your website updated with the latest news and trends so your clients can check for any new developments they should know about.
6) Help them work more tax-efficiently
No company wants to pay more tax than they need to, and clients will expect their accountants to offer valuable information that helps them operate as tax-efficiently as possible.
Your clients may not be aware of the different tax relief options available, such as the Small Business Rate Relief scheme or Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D).
Accounting clients will expect their accountants to inform them about tax relief schemes that could help them save money. Your clients will want you to tell them about their options and advise them on which ones are best suited for their business needs.
In these turbulent economic times, it’s down to you to keep your ear to the ground and discuss your clients’ tax plans with them. Even the smallest claims can help them save hundreds (even thousands) of pounds, so accountants have a responsibility to make sure clients don’t miss out.
Salary or dividends
Business owners paying themselves a salary has many benefits and can be a cost-effective way to draw money from their company. But, as you know, when they pass the National Insurance threshold, taking a salary becomes less and less tax-efficient.
Your clients expect you to have answers about how they should pay themselves. If there’s a more tax-efficient way (perhaps taking a smaller salary and subsidising it with dividends), it’s your job to let them know.
Discover Countingup for accountants
Save your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. Our software is MTD-compatible and full of features for accountants to review and manage client accounts efficiently, prepare journals and client taxes accurately with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out moree here.