COVID-19 brought a spectacularly instantaneous end to local networking events, forced us to retreat into our homes for the good of our health, and made us consider how, what, and where we buy our goods and services from; and that change wasn’t just confined to who delivered our shopping. The movement of service acquisition from offline to online extended to; who represented us when we had legal issues, where we advertised our services, and who compiled our accounts.
For some of these procurement decisions while we were contained to a nationwide lockdown, we can say that we definitely benefited from more competitive rates, a faster service, or an improved level of customer service access. But now normality is returning quickly, are some of those online purchase decisions still fit for purpose, or are the ‘always there’ local solutions a better fit in some cases?
There are an estimated 290,000 qualified and registered accountants in the UK, and little more than 43,250 accountancy companies in operation. If accountancy practices were spread equally across the UK (which they’re not as more than 25% of the accountancy firms are registered in London), you wouldn’t be able to travel more than 3 miles without driving past one.
There are 6 times more accountancy firms than funeral directors, and 3 times more accountancy practices than legal companies.
While you wouldn’t think twice about using a local law firm to resolve an employee issue, it seems that the locality of your accountant is a little more easy to compromise on. But is working with a large, multi-territory accounting conglomerate where you never see your “account manager” costing you the service that you deserve?
We’ve isolated just 5 reasons why you should consider working with a local accountant, not just in the spirit of supporting your local area, but for the good of your business.
If you think of your best business relationships, they more than likely have a person attached to them; whether you last spoke to that person over the phone, via email, or at your local coffee shop; that business relationship ranks well for you because of the person you are dealing with, and the service you are getting.
Dealing with a local accountant means that you get to build that relationship, and receive a personal service, where your accountant knows your name, and you know theirs. Because most local accountants are 3-8 people in size, you won’t get bounced around from department to department when you want some advice or a soundboard for your next large business expense.
Business is a very personal thing regardless of whether you are a one-man band start up, or a bulging team of 200; and trusting someone to take care of your finances is something that you want to feel completely comfortable doing. Local accountancy companies often work with business owners you know, or for other local businesses that can vouch for the accountants capability and proficiency. This referral or recommendation, combined with the fact you can physically visit their office is a great trust indicator.
How frustrating is it when you call up your broadband provider or mobile phone provider, and after 30 minutes on hold, they can’t resolve your issue, or struggle to interpret the issue that you are having to a point where you wish you could just take your broadband hub, or mobile phone to their offices and talk it through with them? Imagine the financial burden, multiplied by 100 or several thousand, and do you want to trust your revenue to a person who you can’t approach, see, and speak to? Your local accountant is always at the end of the phone, and their office is never much of a drive away, which makes rectifying issues, or talking through concerns all the easier.
One of the truest USP’s of working with a local accountant is their local knowledge. They deal with businesses in the same locality as yours, and they understand the local and regional challenges that you are likely to encounter, as they’ll have seen it many times before. Build into this, they are more likely to have a strong knowledge of local government grants, local funding and business enterprise incentives, and you could end up much better off for sticking local, and avoiding the allure of big accountancy sales presentations.
Accountancy fees can vary dramatically of course, and your local accountant may not be the cheapest solution in all cases; but research suggests that electing to work with a local accountant over a large financial institution can save you a considerable amount. In the accountancy marketplace, local accountants who don’t have the in-house sales and marketing teams backed by considerable advertising budgets, also don’t have the extravagant overheads and stakeholder margin demands. While this means your local accountants website might be a little harder to find, they are more likely to place more value on you as a client, and their rate will likely reflect that.
Hiring an accountant is a lot like hiring an employee, and a great accountant should make you feel like they are an extension of your team. The decision-making process for hiring an accountant should extend beyond the cost of their services to also include how they fit into your business model, the support that you need, and the objectives and vision that you have for your business.
If you’re a business based in South Yorkshire, and you’d like to learn more about how we could support you to make the best decisions for your business get in touch with our team today.
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