Only a few of us explicitly offer consultancy as one of our services. Many people who are consultants have heard too many stories of accountants and business advisors who limit their advising to just the traditional, mainstream areas and thereby clients don’t perceive that they get any more business guidance than they did. By contrast, we see our accountants Royston Parkin and business consultants who are advising new business owners to undertake an initial consultative meeting and then carry on to develop and implement the plans as advised. We see this in both small businesses and very large organizations. And it works!
When an accountant or business adviser starts to provide business advice, they are not providing general business advice, they are giving specific advice about a particular area of expertise and they should be paid for their time. An accountant’s charges are tax-deductible and generally are quoted on an hourly basis. A business adviser’s charge is generally much more variable. They can set their fees depending on what they feel will be a profitable outcome for their client. What may be a good outcome for one client may not be so for another, so they have to adjust their fee structures accordingly. And we have also heard of some accountants and business consultants who have tried to charge exorbitant fees just for giving general business advice – it simply does not work!
Again, we hear too many stories of accountants and business advisors who restrict their advising to a very narrow range of potential clients and have made a complete mess of the process of setting up an initial consultative meeting, i.e., where they prepare the draft contractual statement and verbally outline their fee arrangements. At the end of it all, clients can come to find that the bulk of the fees they have paid have been for setting up the consultative meeting, reviewing the contract, preparing the accounts, taking the digital tax return, and signing the forms – if that! Why trust accountants and business advisors who treat their clients as though they are children? It’s time they stopped treating their clients like children and started acting like adults.