Steady and staid – or weird and wacky?

What kind of a human do you want as your accountant?

Accountants – a racy and colourful image

Have you noticed? Accountants up and down the country are expending loads of energy (and not a little expense) in attempts to shed the ‘boring accountant’ tag. I’m never quite sure where the image originated. Was it Monty Python, peddling sketches featuring obsessively nerdy number crunchers? Or was it an image created over centuries, from the days when accountancy clerks would spend all day stood at tall lectern-like desks, working through endless columns of repetitive calculations?

Whatever the origins, no-one would argue that the image of our beloved profession is either racy or colourful. Only a few months ago, I asked someone about her job. She replied apologetically, ‘I’m afraid I’m an accountant’! ‘Afraid’? What a shame. Of course, if we’re going to be sensible, we all know that people are rarely boring. The human race is delightfully diverse. While it might be true that, to the ignorant outsider, accounting processes are somewhat less than riveting, the highly skilled individuals who carry out those processes are no more dull than you and I.

So – we’ve put to bed the myth of boring accountants – but there’s still the question of what you want your accountant to be like. Is there a personality type that suits your needs, your ambitions as well as those of your business?

This isn’t a question I can answer for you. What I can do is tell you about the team here at Gardner Webb. How we approach our work; what gets us up in the morning; in short, what makes us tick.

Take a look at our profiles, and you’ll find out about our backgrounds and experience. You’ll also see that we have husbands, children, pets and a profound desire for copious quantities of continental cuisine and alcohol. We love them all – though not necessarily in that order.

More than anything – what we share is a passion for business, a fascination for other people’s businesses and an unbridled admiration for those who run them. The entrepreneurial spirit is a wonderful thing – a magical mix of ambition, independence and courage. It’s this spirit that drives us. To be in the mix with people who devote their working lives to business success is our privilege and our passion.

But it isn’t only our clients whom we love. We also get a kick from business numbers. To you, a set of accounts may be just a list of numbers. We get that. We understand that preparing accounts doesn’t sound especially exciting (although there is a certain beauty in order and detail – we can argue that another day!). It’s also true that there are only so many VAT returns you can prepare in a lifetime before they numb the brain. What makes us tick, where the thrill lies, is in the stories that we uncover – the stories that the behind the numbers.

Yes, you’re right – we are nosey! But in the best possible way. We’re nosey about the successes and the challenges that your numbers reveal. We love to know, not just what they are, but how they come about. Once we understand the complete picture of a business in 3D technicolour, then we’re better placed to support that business – to be a true partner.

We don’t build that picture by just visiting your business’s figures once a year. We only build a proper picture by keeping in touch with you all year round – through good times and bad. We’ll pick up the phone and find out as much as you can tell us –

“How was last month for you? Good? Bad? Indifferent? Those tweaks we suggested last time – did they work? Is your business running efficiently? How’s the cashflow looking? Any problems with your software?”

But this picture of your business – it doesn’t only inform us of your past. It tells us about the direction in which you’re travelling – your future. What’s next for you, and how will we help you get there?

So yes, the team at Gardner Webb like to think of ourselves as your partners, your business advisers, your friends in business – all of these. We want you to share your successes, your challenges, your hopes, your fears. We want to be the friend you can bounce ideas around with, in a safe environment. We’re someone to talk to when it seems that no-one else is around or interested.

Fun and success through partnership
So – what kind of a personality is your ideal accountant – steady and staid, weird and wacky? Maybe none of these. Maybe you’d rather your accountant were someone who cares about business, who cares about the numbers, and who cares about the fun and excitement of success through partnership. If this characterises your accountant – excellent. If it doesn’t, and you think it should, then perhaps we need to chat.

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