Five Essential Characteristics Every Business Owner Should Demand From Their Accounting Firm|
Demand Fixed-Price Quotes
The vast majority of professional services firms prefer to bill by the
hour. Their main focus centers around billable hours worked and hourly
rates charged by the various staff. When a client asks them how much it
will cost to perform a specific request like a financial forecast, the
answer often is "It depends on how long it takes. We bill this out at $300
per hour." This way, the client has no idea what to expect in terms of
cost of the project, and is not sure if the project is affordable even
though it seems important to get it done.
Other professional services firms go a step farther and offer the client
an "idea" of what the project might cost. They say things like "this type
of forecast usually runs about $5,000", but if it turns out that the
project took longer than expected for whatever reason, they would have no
problem charging $8,000 and explain that there were unexpected
complications that arose.
The reason many professional services firms operate this way is because it
is very difficult to predict how much time will be incurred on a project
before it has started. Although there is a standard approach to conducting
a financial forecast, the time incurred will depend on various factors
such as the condition of the client's records, the ability of the client
to answer questions and make well-supported estimates of future business
events, and the experience of the staff. Ultimately, the client is made to
pay for the uncertainty. This is not right.
Simkover and Associates Chartered Accountants (CA's) have found the
solution to this problem. No work is undertaken without giving the client
a quotation of our fees at the beginning of the project. This
quotation has been carefully calculated by our CA's beforehand, and is based on an intimate
understanding of the client's bookkeeping records, the ability of the
client to provide the required information for the project, and the
experience of our own accounting staff assigned to the project (only
C.A.'s with 15+ years experience are used).
The quotation is usually formatted as a range, such as $5,000 to $5,500 in
order to cover unanticipated issues our chartered accountants may find.
The fee range is always a firm commitment, because it is important for the
client to be able to rely on the quotation and to feel confident that
there will not be any surprises once the work is underway. The client
should not have to bear the burden of uncertainty. That's our job.
Demand An Understanding of Your Business
Many accounting firms prepare financial statements for their clients and
ensure that they conform to generally accepted accounting principles.
However, the purpose of the statements is to indicate how the business is
performing in terms of profitability, liquidity, return on investment,
inventory turnover, ability to meet debt requirements, etc.
The Chartered Accountants (CA's) at Simkover and Associates ensure
that the client has been made aware of, and understands, the key implications
of the financial statements or financial forecast. Depending on the
ultimate use of the statements, implications can differ dramatically. For
example, in cases where the statements are going to the bank where they
will be used as support for continuing a bank loan, it is crucial to
review the bank's performance criteria and specified performance ratios.
So it is very important for the accounting firm to have strong expertise
in the business implications of financial statements, and also to convey
these implications to the client in PLAIN ENGLISH without confusing the
client with financial techno-talk. This is how we operate at Simkover and
Associates Chartered Accountants. You will understand the product we
Demand Responsiveness to Client's Needs
Simkover and Associates Chartered Accountants are highly responsive to
clients' questions, concerns and other communications. There is a policy
that all phone calls and emails must be answered within one business day.
This applies to all clients regardless of size of the business or the fees
involved. All clients are equally important because they all must obtain a
favourable impression of the quality and promptness of the services
provided to them by Simkover and Associates. This is why they are happy to
keep coming back, and to refer business from their friends and contacts.
Simkover and Associates even ensures that voicemails are checked and
answered during vacations. This ensures that clients with urgent concerns
do not have to wait one or two weeks for a reply. We return your calls
because we work for you.
Demand High Quality of Work
The clients of accounting firms are often concerned about the competence
of the staff working on their file. This is difficult for them to gauge
unless the client has an accounting background. How do we know if the
client's accounting systems and accounting staff are working efficiently,
or whether significant cost savings could be realized by making some small
At Simkover and Associates, we have 20 years prior
experience working within the accounting systems of large corporations. This gives us insight
into the various pitfalls of the systems as seen from the inside of the
company. It also provides us with the expertise to recommend upgrades to
more sophisticated systems as the clients needs grow. These upgrades often
provide the client with more breakdowns of financial data which is useful
to run the business on a day-to-day basis, or the ability to plan for the
business and easily check each month on how we are doing when compared to
At Simkover and Associates, only C.A.'s with 15+ years experience are used
at all times, to ensure the highest quality of work and to make sure that
we are not using the client as a training ground for inexperienced staff.
Incredibly, this does not result in high fees, because we are constantly
verifying to ensure that fees are kept at competitive levels. You don't
get interns- you get professionals. Every time.
Demand Results Instead of Reputation
Many clients feel that their accounting firm should be well known in the
business community. When hiring a new firm, they feel that this will
provide them with peace of mind in terms of the competence of the
accounting staff and the reliability of advice received from the
Simkover and Associates is not a household name in Toronto, even though we
have been in business for over 14 years. This is because we have a select
client base and we do not advertise on television or radio, preferring to
rely on client referrals for business expansion.
However, we only use C.A.'s with 15+ year's experience, which eliminates
the need for layers of managers and partners to verify the work of less
experienced staffers. This approach results in the highest possible
quality of work at a low cost to the client.
In terms of tax advice, the client can rest assured that no issue is too
complex for our firm, because we have constant access to one of the top
tax experts in Canada. This ensures that all difficult tax issues are
handled in the best possible way for the client. This service is not
expensive because the tax expert's time is only used on an as-needed
basis, for situations that warrant it.
The overall conclusion is that it is important to consider whether
"reputation in the community" will really deliver high quality at a
reasonable cost, or whether a firm like Simkover and Associates can
deliver the same or better quality at a lower cost.
Contact Simkover and Associates to get your finances in order. We
are ready to grow your business- are you?