I often get asked this question and straight away I have to say that I can only speak as an Accountant in practice as that is what I have been for my entire career. I never strayed to the dark side of working in commerce, mainly because the repetitive nature of the management accounts cycle most certainly didn’t appeal and I’d seen how short term failures by a business often meant the end for the accountant.
The first thing I say is that surprisingly accountants don’t just deal in numbers and many like myself wouldn’t put ourselves against most pub darts players in the mental arithmetic world.
So what do accountants actually do? Well it is fair to say that at it’s most basic we help establish and mitigate (legally) businesses tax liabilities.
Now armed with this information and understanding our client’s motives, background, goals and values we help them develop the business the way they want it to develop. We don’t impose our values on theirs simply because we think we know best we use the knowledge and experience we have gained over the years of preparing and reviewing thousands of accounts to spot problem areas and highlight good performance.
I’ve never felt the need to call myself or my practice anything other than Accountant. Consultant or Business Mentor or even the more absurd Futurist frankly leave me cold. Clients start out wanting certainty that they are paying the correct amounts of tax and that their records are sufficient for that purpose as a minimum and from that simply starting point relationships are built that can and often, in my experience, last generations why? Because in a nutshell that’s what Accountants do.