Peter Backwell is the CFO of Altus Traffic – a business which provides traffic management services when road works are underway. Tey supply the people-power and equipment to direct traffic while roads & bridges are being built and/or maintained (http://www.altustraffic.com.au/) Here are Peter’s thoughts to the question, “What can accountants do to improve their service to you?”
Two things that come to mind would be continuity of staff on the job and transparency on pricing.
All clients expect some degree of staff turnover within their accounting firms, however, when more than 60% of an audit team changes year on year it is simply too much. As CFO you have to spend a big chunk of time bringing the new people up to speed. It’s an imposition I can definitely do without.
We’ve spoken about pricing earlier. However, it’s worth reinforcing the point that all accounting firms, in particular the big ones need to be more realistic about the fees they charge for their services and be ready to answer the question “why?”
The other thing accounting firms could do to improve their services is to be a little more generous in the sharing of their expertise. I find sometimes that they’re overly protective of some of their tools and processes. For example, they might have some really funky Excel spreadsheet that they’ve produced that provides users with a set of useful calculations or something like that. Some firms will give it to you, where other firms will try and sell it to you or say that you can’t have it and or they’ll charge you a small fortune to build it for you.
Being more open with such tools would help the relationship no end. I’d be more than happy to leave their logo on the tool and tell people about it.
Until next time, all my best