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Can accountants really advise business owners?

Do you think accountants can fully advise small business owners if they have never been in business themselves?

A few years ago I would have said yes.

Now I say no. I am not talking about providing isolated services such as tax advice or delivering a budget. I am talking about advisers who are the go-to person for business owners but have never been there themselves.

In my own life I have worked with a range of complex clients, I have won awards. I have obtained professional qualifications. I thought I was a pretty kick-ass adviser.

But it wasn’t until I started my own business that I actually understood and could identify with:

  • Managing cash flow

  • Trade offs with family time

  • Working with your spouse

  • Having no guaranteed salary

  • Navigating employer regulations

  • Being the final decision maker

  • Creating a team and choosing employees

  • Switching your mind off

  • Being CEO, worker, marketing, HR and customer relations all at once!

Holding senior positions in large accountancy firms gave me zero insight into how small business owners juggle these issues everyday. Experience is the only pathway to expertise here. So next time you are taking crucial advice on the direction of your small business ask yourself if this adviser really ‘gets it’.


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