5 reasons your accountant should not run your business!

Posted by Michael Sausman on March 6, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Its been a busy week – another week with another new client who is in trouble because they were not getting the right advice.  I love accountants – don’t get me wrong – its just that they are only very rarely experienced business managers or consultants.

1.       Accountants are highly trained – to give tax and financial advice.  Would you ask your bank manager to design your marketing programme?  Or your website designer to recommend a new car for you?  So why would you ask your accountant to help you with business strategy or running your business?

2.      Your accountant will organise your accounts for his ease of use; your schedule of accounts needs to give YOU easily understandable information on your business, with expenses grouped together under headings such as marketing, production, IT, telecoms etc.  Make your accountant work for you, not the other way around.

3.      YOU understand your goals, why you are in business and where you are going.  If you don’t, then you need to think about it urgently and write a (basic) strategic business plan now!  Explain it to your accountant by all means but it is YOUR business.

4.      Your accountant will probably charge an hourly rate – make sure you are only paying for their area of expertise.  Use a business mentor, coach or consultant if needed – it will be cheaper and more helpful in the long run.

5.      Finally, do your accountant a favour and let them do their job – listen to their advice and then make the decisions based on what’s best for your business.

Do you have views on this? Let me know  @MSatBBS

Business in Asia

Posted by Michael Sausman on April 19, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Several of my clients are either already selling or are interested in selling to Asian markets; I encourage companies to plan and not to take a scattergun approach to the many different markets.

The article here (thanks to Startup Smart) gives some good initial guidlines and things to think about.

Dont try to do everything youself!!


Mentoring, Consulting or Coaching?

Posted by Michael Sausman on March 17, 2011 at 9:17 PM

So there you are, working (too) hard in your business and you identify that help is needed.  If its something specific like financial help, you would probably talk to your accountant or bank manager.  If they can't help then they can usuallly point you in one direction or another.

But what if its undefined, or general business, or marketing, or stragic help you need - who do you turn to then?

And do you need a consultant a coach or a mentor?

And what's the difference?

Birdwing Business Solutions deals with clients at all stages of business and uses different methods (or a combination of them) depending on the clients' needs.  So at the risk of starting a discussion (argument?) here's how I interpret the differences:

Consulting: tends to be project and task based, and often driven by outside circumstances to look at processes within the business to help improve performance.  This is usually only needed as required. Although this can be over the whole enterprise, the consultant frames the nature of the issues by making recommendations, based on their experience and the clients' circumstances.

Training:  for completeness we should include this as coaching is often confused with it: training is specific to an issue of personal development; the content is framed by the nature of the issue and it is mainly about the transfer of knowledge.

Coaching: goes beyond training and gives new perspectives on issues or problems; it is very much driven by, and therefore controlled by, the coach.  When successful, coaching can change mindsets and is crucial in any kind of change management.

Mentoring:  this goes another step further and should be framed by the client.  Done well, mentoring should look at strategic issues and make mentees think outside of the box.  Examing new concepts with a mind to the overall strategic direction and goals of the enterprise make this suitable for business owners and directors who already know where they are going.

All the above have their place in business and all should be enjoyable for all involved - any kind of learning experience should be fun!

If you want to discuss any of the above, please email me - [email protected]


Starting a new business?

Posted by Michael Sausman on February 13, 2011 at 9:58 PM

A bit of advice courtesy of HBO and Entourage.

Click here



Why aren't you having more fun?

Posted by Michael Sausman on February 1, 2011 at 8:44 AM

So there you are, doing what you always wanted to do or earning lots of money, or - even better – earning lots of money and doing what you always wanted to do…….  So why aren’t you enjoying it?

Planning – a broken record?

I hate to say it again, but planning is so important.  If you have a plan – where you are going, how you will achieve it and how you will get out of it (or move to the next stage) –it takes a lot of stress out of the day to day management of the company.


Cliché – work on (not in) the business

You have a plan but its not working the way you thought it would?  Business plans must grow with your business and change with what is happening in the environment.  If you have a plan but have not re-examined it in the past 3 months, now is a good time to do it.   Yes – even before reading the rest of this!

I’m working hard but not making any money….

Well there can be lots of reasons; if you really think about your business you are probably able to realise what the issues are; often though, it helps to talk to someone who is independent but with a lot of experience of various businesses.  There may not be easy answers but talking helps!




Why don't business people plan?

Posted by Michael Sausman on January 21, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Business advisors spend much of our lives trying to convince business owners and managers to have written strategic or business plans, but perhaps we should be asking why so many of them don’t.

Common reasons I’m given are:  “Its ok, its all in my head”, “I don’t need a bank loan so I don’t need a plan”, “I don’t want my competitors to find out what I’m trying to do”, “I don’t have the time to plan” and “I’ll get round to it one day” – recognise any of those?

Clearer Picture

All of my clients tell me that not only do they have a clearer picture of their business with their plan but also that the process has helped them to develop new ideas, see new opportunities and pitfalls, allowed them to step back and look at the business, given them a feeling of being more in control and helped them explain their business to others.  And all are making more profit, have more free time or have sold their businesses.

Keep it Simple

The plan does not have to be long and complex (especially for a small business) and you can do it yourself.  There are lots of templates available on the web and most of them include everything (and more) that a business needs to plan.  It may only be 2 pages or could be 30 pages – but it needs to be clear and meaningful - and remember its YOUR plan for YOUR business.

Don’t stress about getting it 100% perfect – accept that you will need to review it regularly (every 3 months) and you can add to it as you grow and develop your business so that the plan is always up to date.

Start Today

Of course you can pay someone like me to help you write it, (click here for our Business Planning page) review it or for general ongoing advice, but the point is to start your plan today; and if you already have one then re-examine it at least every 3 months.