“Please Sir, I want some more”, as many of you will recognise, is a well known quote from Charles Dickens. So what is the link between Charles Dickens and the modern day accountant…?
Once a business hits a specified turnover, employee number and net asset criteria, it is required to have a statutory audit, in technical terms an official inspection (an audit) by an independent body (the auditor), in lay man’s language, a necessary evil that is often perceived to be of no benefit to a business.
The challenge is to get some benefit from the audit, but how, is the skill. The independent examiner is in a unique position, they have the benefit of seeing behind the scenes, what really goes on in the business, and they have a choice of how they use this information; do the audit, form an opinion and walk away until the next year, or; do the audit, form an opinion and open a meaningful dialogue with the business owners about the numbers.
The auditor can question and probe, looking at various critical numbers, controls and procedures. This involves: reviewing sales analysis, costings, margins, wastage, asset utilisation, efficiency improvement processes, contingency planning, availability of funding, reward schemes, incentives, tax planning, retirement options, financial planning and ultimately an exit strategy.
The list is not exhaustive but starts to put the building blocks in place for the business owner, enabling them to use the skills and knowledge of their advisers to better affect, turning the necessary evil into a relationship driven process which adds a real value to a business owner.
This process is a two way thing, but it starts with business owner wanting more, and having a conversation which will deliver more. From the professional viewpoint, it needs a business owner who is prepared to push themselves and look further than the annual accounts.
Which really begs the question, who wouldn’t want more?