Insight Associates provide outsourced accounting and Finance Director services to ambitious and growing businesses. We work as your only resource or with existing staff to give you complete financial support including monthly management accounts, high level financial advice, robust controls and financial systems, funding and business planning, payroll & compliance, VAT returns and statutory compliance.

Successful business leaders have all the information they need to make good decisions…Do You?

Monday, July 10, 2017

How to find a proactive accountant


The list of mythical creatures is long.

There’s the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster and Pegasus. Then there's entire species, like dragons, fairies and fairy godmothers, mermaids, unicorns and leprechauns. The Harry Potter universe has helped basilisks, werewolves and house elves shoot up in popularity in the last few years.

But there’s one more that you won’t find on many lists.

That’s the proactive accountant.


Oh, they do exist, of course. There are rare but reliable sightings up and down the country. And every accountant worth his or her salt claims to be a “proactive” accountant. Many even boast about being one on their website.

And yet, “I wish I could find a more proactive accountant” is the clarion call of practically every business owner I’ve ever met…….

So why are they so elusive?

I’ll stop being facetious for a minute and give you a serious answer.

The problem is that for the most part “proactive” and “accountant” is a contradiction in terms.

The basic job of the accountant is to provide the statutory information you have to produce for Companies House. They will put together your annual accounts and make sure your taxes are filed correctly and on time.

These are all important things that need to get done for your business.

But they won’t help you run it any more efficiently or profitably – which is what business owners are really asking for when they wish for a “more proactive accountant”.

What they really want is an accountant who volunteers suggestions about how to save money and budget properly, and works with them to manage their finances more efficiently and plan their financial future. They also want deep insights into their true financial position.

This is beyond the remit of most accountants.

It’s also beyond their capabilities – not because they don’t have the knowledge (of course they do), but because they are simply not involved enough in your business to be able to offer that kind of tailored insight and guidance.

When they look at your figures once a quarter or annually, they don’t have a deep enough understanding of what you do, the market you operate in and the day-to-day financial challenges you face.

Of course, there are excellent accountants out there who do extend these services. They are rare.

Others think they are being proactive by offering advice on how to save a bit of tax, but that only scratches the surface of what most fast-growing businesses really need, in terms of financial advice.

If you’re looking for a genuinely proactive accountant, then, it’s going to be tough.

But the good news is that they do exist.

They’re simply called finance directors. (Hiding in plain sight - the ultimate disguise…….)

Finance directors make it their business to delve into every aspect of your finances and add value – offering bespoke advice about how to improve your financial position, and make great financial decisions.

In many ways they build on the valuable work that your accountants do, interpreting the figures they produce and using them to plan ahead, keeping you on firm financial footing.

These less-than-mythical creatures are generally spotted in corporates.

But if that’s something you really want, you can have it, too.

You see, we offer the exact same service to smaller companies turning over between £1 million and £10 million.

After all, why shouldn’t you have a genuinely proactive accountant? Why should all the skills, tools and insights offered by finance directors be restricted to much larger companies, when it’s exactly what you need too?

If you’ve recently lamented that you need a more proactive accountant, call or email me and let's talk.

We’re not “only” accountants – we’re finance directors. And we’ll get you the proactive financial management your company deserves.


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