Offering a better account

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The Independent Online
IN TODAY'S cut-and-thrust business world, accountants increasingly find themselves criticised by small businesses - for their fees as much as anything - and banks - largely for the advice they give, writes Roger Trapp.

Not surprisingly, the profession feels this is unfair and is at pains to stress the value of accountants to the small- and medium-sized concern. In the words of Peter Davis, chairman of the Board for Chartered Accountants in Business, they are 'facilitators' who 'take the strain, beat back the paperwork, ease the finance road, advise on business strategy and come up with profit-making ideas'.

Believing that accountants are people with the skill and experience to help businesses through troubled times, his organisation has just produced a booklet called Guiding Business to Profit.

With the aid of a succinct text and bright cartoons featuring an accountant called Mrs FCA (after the qualification that chartered accountants receive), it aims to demonstrate the practical uses and benefits that such advisers can bring. The booklet shows how they can help with tax and legal matters, general management, planning and financial control. In case the point is lost, the slim volume concludes with information on how to recruit a chartered accountant.

'With the growing complexity of modern business - not to mention the numerous duties placed on directors - it is hardly surprising that virtually every business of any size requires a specialist to oversee accounting, financial and secretarial matters,' it says.

And anybody believing their company is too small to make use of an accountant should think again. 'Almost a third work in companies with 100 employees or fewer. Close to half work in companies with 500 employees or fewer.'