Emerging trends for accountants – advocacy

Well … after a break over Christmas & New Year its back to the world of work! Hope you all had a good break too.

Since I’m based in Australia the thrust of my comments apply to this part of the world. However, that being said, I dare say that the trends being discussed will apply in other markets within the developed world.

What does 2011 hold for professional services firms and their clients? Short answer: quite a few things. Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing some trends that I’ve noticed emerging over the latter part of 2010 that I think will gather strength during the course of 2011. I’ve titled each post a guess – a combination of my thoughts, discussions with friends in the various markets in which I work and some (hopefully) objective observations.Person who supports a cause and exercises his right to be heard, or represents a party before a court or tribunal to defend it or plead on behalf of it.

So here we go … guess No.1

Clients need advocates with their financial institutions

Lets firstly define what an advocate means. According to an advocate is a person who supports a cause and exercises his/her right to be heard, or represents a party before a court or tribunal to defend it or plead on behalf of it.

In the accounting context this could be a financial institution, government authority, industry association etc…

Over the last few months I’ve been working with a medium size business (about 300 staff) that works in the education services sector. This particular business has been investing in its infrastructure and services offering over the last few years and has reached a stage where it needs to acquire smaller businesses so it can add scale to its business and thereby generate a better return on its investment. In order to acquire these smaller businesses my client needs external funding. Owing to the Global Financial Crisis, banks in Australia have been reluctant (to say the very least) to loan funds to my client and other businesses. Great acquisition opportunities would be lost  if my client didn’t get funding.

To cut a long story short, my client retained a new accounting firm to present their case to their bank. The accounting firm went through the business, made recommendations to improve their “bankability” and conducted the discussions with the bank. After a few months of work with one of the major Australian banks, funding was approved to the equivalent of one-third of the business’ annual revenue. A fantastic win!

Without wanting to put too fine a point on it, my client would not have a “snowflakes chance in hell” of getting the funds without their accountants help.

A wonderful way to help your clients and strengthen your relationship with them is to be their advocate!

Hope the above helps. See you next time.

James E