Small-company owners who accept professional accounting help still won’t totally relinquish the financial reins of their outfit because they regard their accountant merely as a ‘bean counter,’ rather than a ‘partner’ who can advance the business.
Having quizzed 11 micro-businesses, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants found that, generally, owners want to retain control of their data so are reluctant to let an expert crunch the numbers.
In line with the “bean counter image” of accountants that they have, the owners worry that passing up their normal involvement to instead use such a professional adviser would result in a “generic, highly aggregated summary” of their firm’s statistics.
Unlike accountants they could hire, the owners said that they knew precisely “what was going on” with their venture, affording them “superior insights” into the numbers and “greater control” over their operation, which often contained data they deemed to be sensitive.
For the accountancy institute, however, and particularly its members, it says the “dissemination of the business partnering concept” among smaller firms needs to improve, so they become more aware of the potential contribution accountants can make to enterprises.
Moreover, it was suggested that owner-managers could benefit from spending more time developing their business, such as honing marketing or new product development, if combing through their venture’s financial data was no longer left to them alone.