All accountants claim to be different. They say they are proactive, they understand your business better and that they will provide sound business advice. One thing that you can be sure of however, is that they are accountants.

The SME market has matured and ambitious, growing SME’s no longer want accountants, they need commercial partners. Many accounting firms have reacted to this need and now provide ‘Business Advisory’ services to augment their falling accountancy fee income. But are accountants really the best people to provide advice on salesforce efficiency, or return on marketing investment for example? We don’t think so.

Government statistics show that many SME’s go out of business because they run out of cash or over trade. How can this be the case if the business owner is receiving solid commercial advice from their accountant? As with most things, the devil is in the detail and rather than looking at the challenges an ambitious business faces from purely an accounting point of view, a wider commercial view often provides very different answers.

As an example, Directional Thinking provides growth capital both directly and through partners. We have been introduced to many companies that face daily cashflow issues for numerous reasons in order to provide working capital to enable them to overcome their cashflow challenges. Whilst we are happy, and make good profits from providing working capital, sometimes the solution is already in the company’s Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statement. Simple changes such as changing customer pricing or payment terms, renegotiating purchasing contracts with key suppliers or re-financing existing assets can have the same impact as injecting cash, but without the dilution of share ownership or having to pay additional interest on some form of cash injection.

Pure accountancy is important to a business. If commercial, operational and financial nous can be applied to the pure numbers the accountant churns out however, the resulting business intelligence can provide invaluable foresight for the business owner to shape future plans and strategy.