I expect ideas from all my advisers!

Last week I met with a CFO of an Australian retail icon and interviewed him for the “What do Accounting Clients Really Want?” book I’m working on. Due to restrictions with my Publisher I’m not permitted to release any name details until the book is out.

That being said I had a really good meeting with this chap. Lets call him Matt as in Matt Damon – I’m sure the CFO won’t mind.

We were talking about his expectations of the external accounting firm they use and he made a very interesting comment which I dare say all accountants can sometimes be guilty of when servicing clients. Please note: I don’t have the transcription of the interview back yet from the person I use so the following is a paraphrase.

You know James, the accountants we use are just great. Because of their long history working with us they really understand our business. Our operation is vertically integrated – we manufacture, wholesale, retail and export our products – so there are a lot of moving parts to our business. Our accountants have an appreciation of practically everything associated about our business and as such we have a close, open and trusting working relationship with them.

That being said, although our current accountants are excellent if I was asked for one area of improvement it would be their level pro-activity in bringing new business ideas and opportunities to the table. Our accountants are top-notch when it comes to all the compliance work they do and value-adding advisory services they provide, but they seem to still operate in the traditional “accountant’s box”

Given their deep and rich understanding of our business I want them to come to me with new ideas to help us improve the business. These ideas could be anything from new products to retail alliances to opportunities in new markets. In fact a lot of ideas I would expect wouldn’t have any link to accounting per se and that is completely ok.

In fact I want all our external advisers & consultants to be sources and generators of new ideas. Be they accounting, legal, technology, human resources, marketing, supply-chain or whatever. I want them all to help us – not just in their respective fields of expertise but, if for example,  our lawyer has a good idea to do with marketing bring it on. I expect ideas from all my advisers!

Are you generating ideas for your clients outside your area of expertise?

See you next post,

James E