Get intimate with your accountant
Nathan Poole and Linda Giles of Ross Brooke Dental (RBD) explain why it’s imperative to form a strong bond with your accountant…strong enough to get intimate.
Liking your accountant may not seem like a heavyweight business tip. However, believe us when we argue that it is profoundly important. We have just signed up a dentist who is excited to start working with us to plan for their future. ‘Planning’, he said, ‘all these years I had no idea I could be working with my accountant to plan!’
His frustration with his previous accountant prompted us to reflect on why things had not worked out. And the conclusion we came to is that it was about expectations. The previous accountant was a service provider, the person who filed their tax return, but did very little else. The dentist wanted more from him.
With our clients we work as advisers and we build relationships. As any good therapist will tell you, there should be no secrets. We need to know the full financial picture, assets, debts, income requirements, warts and all.
Unless our clients share all their financial information, we can’t do our best for them. So, for a British person (and we do tend to be reserved about our finances), it definitely qualifies as an intimate relationship!
Negotiating the minefield
Tax and finance is a minefield. We want you to pay the right amount of tax while optimising your overall business and personal financial position. To do this for you, we need to have a full picture of your life, your aims, your earnings and commitments.
We believe it’s our job to help you work out how much you need to live on and how to achieve that. This is sometimes easier said than done due to the complexity of dental practice finances.
Most clients choose to have an annual review with us; we sit down and discuss everything that is going on in their business and their life. We compare their situation to the previous year and identifying what needs to change so they get closer to their objectives.
One of our long-standing clients, dental practice-owner Richard Insley, described the annual meeting in the following way: ‘Working in dentistry, it’s like you are cooped up in a submarine. You’re not aware of much of what is happening outside of your surgery. Then, you have a meeting with Linda and Nathan. It’s like putting up a periscope and looking at the real world. You find out how you are doing, how efficient you are and whether you are appropriately leveraged; you see what is going on both in your own business and personal finances as well as wider dental trends.’
For clients like Richard, who decide to work with us before they settle into a practice or partnership, and who we guide through some of the biggest decisions of their lives, we always have the end of the relationship in sight. We want to ensure that when our clients retire, they do so in comfort.
So, the first in our series of business tips is to ask yourself if your bond with your accountant is strong enough for you to share all aspects of your professional and personal finances? If not, how can you plan for your financial future?