Another very important component of offering these types of services is that the appointment of a senior financial person can assist in “freeing up” time for the Chief Executive Officer to commit to other business expansion activities. Some CEOs have commented that this has been one of the significant benefits that they have obtained from appointing an experienced accountant/financial person to perform a virtual chief financial officer/director service for their company.
The Strategic Business Mentoring Package contains a range of forms and templates to assist in the planning of the services to be offered and the implementation of the senior financial person role.
The package also includes material to assist in the preparation of a work programme and a quotation as well as a work programme timetable and a template on a proposal to be submitted to the client.
Directors Feedback – “Need More Than Taxation Services from Accountants”
The following article was prepared by Peter Towers, Managing Director of ESS BIZTOOLS following the completion of an eight hour workshop with a group of company directors and senior management executives in businesses that complied with the entry requirements for the Australian government’s Entrepreneurs Program. In our opinion the article offers a good insight into the problems that are confronting company directors on a day-to-day basis. The challenge for accountants/advisors, who are wanting to offer a broader range of professional services, is to be able to assist company directors in their deliberations on these types of issues.
We trust this article will assist you in your understanding of the issues that we are proposing would be dealt with under the “strategic business mentoring package”.
What would you learn from 8 hours with a group of company directors? I had that privilege in September 2017 in a programme sponsored by the Entrepreneurs Programme, part of AusIndustry. The brief was to meet for 8 hours with a group of company directors and discuss with them the issues that they were confronting in their businesses and also to give them some briefing on corporate governance issues.
I learnt plenty in getting feedback from the directors and thought I’d share what they said with you.
The directors represented companies that had turnovers from $750,000 through to $29M with an average of around $4M amongst the various companies.
I asked them whether they’d heard of “delegation” and why weren’t they delegating these tasks to the other members of the management team and even some younger members of staff.
It would be a great staff training exercise for the team to learn new skills and for senior management to be able to observe whether some of these younger team members really had management potential.
Accountants – Only one of these directors’ companies had a full time accountant working for them, the rest were totally reliant on external accounting businesses. When I asked them what their accountants did for them the unanimous answer was “taxation”.
We then discussed what else accountants could do and the majority of directors indicated that they would like their accountant to be undertaking additional work for them, but; and here was the big BUT; the directors thought their accountants were too busy doing taxation to have the time to help them in developing their business vision.
What accountants need to do is to make an appointment and sit down and have a conversation with your clients because that was what I had to do following this 8 hour seminar. My contract then said that I had to have a telephone conversation with each of those directors. The contract said for 30-minutes, but I can assure you it took a lot longer, but it was amazing what the feedback was confirming the issues that I’ve discussed with you today.
My suggestion is that you think about having a conversation with your clients; not a 5-minute conversation but a 45-minute to 60-minute conversation. You could use the SME Needs’ Analysis that ESS BIZTOOLS has developed to guide you through that conversation and out of that conversation I’m certain that you’ll identify issues that your clients are looking for assistance on because they certainly told me in the seminar and in the follow up telephone conversations that I had with them.
You can then submit a proposal – this is what you indicated you wanted assistance in; this is what we can do for you; this is the timing and, very importantly, this is our quotation for assistance in doing this work for you and our billing schedule is as follows. So spell it all out so there is no misunderstanding.
I think the majority of the directors who were participating in the seminar would accept a reasonable proposal if their accountants had submitted it to them and then it’s up to you to make sure you can deliver in a timely manner the services that your clients are asking you to provide and pay you for doing so.
So that’s the result of my 8 hours with a group of company directors and the subsequent follow up telephone conversation with each of them. The directors were not unduly complaining, but they were quite strong in their comments that they thought there was a lot more work that their external accountants could do for them to assist them in building value in their businesses. The directors were very sure of those comments when we looked at what chief financial officers in listed public companies do for their CEOs.
We believe that these notes could be used by you as the basis of offering your clients, who are keen to grow and add value to their businesses, an exciting “Strategic Business Mentoring Service”.