We take a look at what makes a modern accountant a great accountant...
Nowadays, the question on everyone's mind when it comes to running a business is “how can I make things more modern and streamlined?” Everyone is looking for a way to modernise and strengthen their business with the latest technologies and the most expert personnel.
For example, your small business clients will have a lot of important questions running through their minds – they’ll be wondering; “How do I maximise my monetary assets?”, “How do I comply with tax regulations and pay the bills on time?”, and “ How do I do all of this at the same time as crafting my business the way I want it?”
A lot of questions will be roaming a small business owner's mind, and who are they going to turn to to get some answers? You – the accountant. But nowadays, they won’t just be looking for any accountant, they’ll be looking for a modern accountant – one that will personalise their approach, and optimise the latest accounting software tools.
In today’s modern world, it isn’t just enough to offer traditional accounting services – your clients are looking for a modern, personalised service.
In this article, we take a look at the 7 qualities of a modern accountant to answer the question “what makes a great accountant these days?”. We do this to help you evaluate and improve your approach, in order to remain competitive in the industry and provide your clients with the best services possible.
The modern accountant…
When most entrepreneurs set out to start a business it’s because they have a personal dream or goal they want to achieve. However, there are a number of factors and compliances to consider (both monetary and non-monetary), and these factors continue to change and pile up as their business grows, establishes and changes with time.
Without financial guidance, small business owners might put their money in the wrong place, therefore making it difficult to turn their ideas into a reality. This is where the need for a qualified modern accountant comes in.
In today’s modern, forward-thinking world, dream-chasing is a way of life – it is more common for everyday people to build businesses.
Because of this, modern accountants are often:
Modern accountants guide entrepreneurs with the nitty gritty financial details, helping them avoid unprofitable business moves, and generally supporting them with managing their finances.
Stereotype: accountants are serious and their services a transaction.
Reality: modern accountants are social, approachable people.
A large part of an accountant's role is to build personalised relationships with their clients. And this is especially true today with the widespread and increasing desire to become an entrepreneur.
Today, an accountant's client base is widely diverse in needs and personal character – hence, the modern accountant must personalise their accounting and advisory approach to each individual client.
And this personalisation does not only apply to industry-specific financial advice, but also applies to how an accountant builds a rapport and relationship with their clients. The traditional accountant-client relationship might be fostered over professional business meetings, but today, many entrepreneurs might prefer to meet on a Zoom call, at a cafe, or even a pub to discuss their finances. It is up to you, the accountant, to meet these individual needs for their diverse client base.
Today, accounting is no longer a “transaction” – it is a personalised service.
Films might portray accountants as serious people, but in reality, accountants are very social people. Communication is actually a large part of an accountant's role. Nowadays, accounting is just as much about connecting with clients as it is about crunching numbers.
Accountants meet new people every day – and depending on their clients needs or preferences, they communicate regularly – whether this be over the phone, online, or in person.
And as mentioned earlier in the article, many accountants these days are more than happy to meet a client in a cafe, or even a pub if that is where their client feels comfortable. It is this flexible and sociable approach that helps answer the question “what makes a great accountant these days?”
Something else that makes the modern accountant a great accountant is their empathetic approach.
Due to the very personal nature of accounting and advisory, it comes with the territory that accountants work with many clients that may be struggling financially (whether this be due to business decisions, personal reasons, etc.). And because personal finance is such a sensitive subject, the modern accountant must offer a great level of empathy when communicating with and advising their clients.
Gone are the days when accountants only spoke to their clients once a year at tax time, nowadays modern accountants engage regularly, and are "on the journey" with their clients. Modern accountants act as an extension of their clients business – keeping in regular contact, and helping their clients reach their business goals.
It is these social and empathetic values that make a modern accountant, a great accountant.
When it comes to accounting, notebooks and spreadsheets are a thing of the past. The modern accountant has access to a wealth of powerful and automated accounting software tools to streamline their practice.
And with the rising number of modern entrepreneurs, small business owners will be looking to accountants – looking to you – for modern accounting services. This means no more spreadsheets! They’re expecting you to help them with the use of modern technology.
Today, a great accountant is one that uses a modern accounting system to help their clients in the most efficient and proactive way possible.
The modern accountant doesn’t waste time spending hours on manual administration, stressing about helping their clients get their taxes in on time. The modern accountant uses a modern accounting system to automate the data for them. Why? So they can dedicate their time to turning insights into actionable, profitable advice for their clients.
Today, great accountants are those who maximise the power of smart accounting software tools, at the same time as applying their own knowledge and analytical thinking. In doing so, they draw insightful conclusions, and provide their clients with more scalable, proactive accounting services.
Learn more about Aider and Xero’s accounting software tools here.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that accounting is just numbers – but accounting is just as much about strategy and creativity as it is about crunching numbers.
Modern accountants work with a variety of people, across a variety of industries – they each have a unique business vision, individual amount of funds and a unique personality.
Whether a client is a plumber, a hair stylist, or a property investor – they will each have a unique business vision and access to funds. Because of this, modern accountants have to be creative and adaptable in order to support their clients.
For example, it might be that a client is an early-stage start-up and is searching for seed money – or perhaps a client has recently inherited a large sum of money and is looking for support on how to manage this. The point is, no one client is the same.
Not only do modern accountants have to adapt to each individual client, they also have to keep up with an ever-changing world.
There are a number of interchangeable variables that impact an accountant's role every day – from advancements to technology (e.g. new accounting software tools) to sudden changes to the financial landscape, and so on.
Today, the modern accountant not only should be, but has to be both adaptable and creative; because in such an unpredictable world, adaptability is not just an advantage, but a necessity.
The modern accountant doesn’t just support their clients with managing their finances – they also help them seize new opportunities. Or as they say “carpe diem” – “seize the day”.
A big part of an advisor's role is to provide their clients with expert advice to help them maximise their finances and strengthen their business. And often the way to do this is to encourage their clients to seize a new opportunity and make a big change in their business. This might mean scaling-up, scaling-down, or even shifting their business mission in an entirely different direction to what they had initially intended.
A modern accountant – a great accountant – doesn’t just tell their clients when their taxes are due, or chase them up when they’re behind on bills – they analyse their clients’ financial situation in relation to their business goals, and they guide them with insightful, actionable advice.
A great accountant helps their clients seize new opportunities. They encourage small business owners to try something new, and when necessary (often), they help them overcome any fear of change – they help them embrace and implement change in their business.
The modern accountant is one who fills many roles – they help their clients manage their finances, follow their dreams, and seize new opportunities. All at the same time as optimising state-of-the-art accounting software tools, and personalising their approach.
So to sum up, what is the main answer to the question: “what makes a great accountant these days?”...
Great accountants are accountants that help people forecast their future.
The modern accountants role is to guide their clients with proactive financial insights and financial management, but not just for legal tax purposes, etc. The true purpose is to help people manage their finances, in order to help them achieve their goals and forecast their future.
The modern accountant helps their clients look forward – assess where their business is at now, and where they’d like it to be in the future.