Our original accountancy firm was selected, in part, for convenience due to their location near to our original office. They were very competitively priced, and managed all aspects of our book-keeping and accountancy, which was essential for us as a small start-up.
Additionally, by working with the small local office of the firm they were able to bring a personal touch to our relationship.
You get what you pay for
Although price is often the leading factor when selecting companies to support your business – with accountancy firms, paying higher fees for a firm that brings a large pool of knowledge within your particular industry sector can genuinely bring savings and opportunities that may more than cover the cost, in the long run.
As Broadbandchoices.co.uk grew, our financial requirements became more complex. There are a whole range of benefits available to businesses and in particular tech companies – but you have to know they exist in order to benefit from them.
We were looking for in-depth knowledge on a range of financial matters appropriate to our specific circumstances:
- international expansion;
- securing investment;
- tax planning; and
- industry-specific expertise.
The firm we chose, a second tier accountancy firm, has divisions that specialise in a number of sectors including our own: technology, media and telecoms (TMT). Their TMT division has a wealth of knowledge in all of our key criteria, and their depth of knowledge has allowed us to make significant savings, and advancements in a number of areas.
Larger firms with targeted divisions are able to acquire a wealth of up-to-date, industry specific knowledge which allows them to be proactive in their handling of our account. They have at their disposal an array of experts who have extensive experience in our particular sector. This allows us to make the most of financial benefits that we had previously missed out on, such as research & development tax credits.
Our relationship with them has brought a number of unanticipated benefits beyond their financial muscle too. They have an impressive client list of key technology companies and businesses in complementary industries that allows for great networking opportunities and introductions.
Third party kudos
Working with one of the bigger and more impressive accountancy organisations with a worldwide network brings added kudos among third parties, and the extra reassurance for investors that our finances are managed with scrutiny.
Greater financial rigour
But engaging a larger accountancy firm does not come without its challenges and our first audit, by way of example, was a gruelling process. Although the fees were not significantly higher than with our previous firm, the audit was a far more rigorous and exhaustive process than we had undergone previously, and this time we had to pick up more of the preparation burden. It was a massively busy time for our finance team, but we benefitted from a stamp of approval on our performance from a well respected accountancy firm, and a heightened knowledge base among our team for future audits.
My final word of advice is not to overlook the importance of the relationship between your financial director and your accountant. A strong relationship can result in a smoother and significantly less painful auditing process. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure your finance team meet with your accountancy firm rep several times to establish a relationship. If it they don’t quickly gel then you may be wise to reconsider your choice.
Michael Phillips is managing director at Broadbandchoices.co.uk
and in 2010 was named the
haysmacintyre Top Gun
, meaning he was chosen as the outstanding member of the that year's
group. Follow his tweets here: