Uniting with an accountant: What makes a good partnership?

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by Victoria Mason, Partner at Cardens Accountants and Business Advisors 

Last week I had the rare pleasure of interviewing a new member of the Cardens team. I say rare because this was once a more frequent part of my role, so it was a nice change, and I had the opportunity to ask some probing questions. As the conversation flowed, I asked what gives you job satisfaction: the big £ deal or a client thanking you for the support to get them through a current objective. For me, without a shadow of doubt, is the recognition I receive when I help a client. Of course, we charge for our services but we strive to give excellent value for money, so this part is never in question.

The length of time I have been an accountant, or the collective ages of our firm, means that we hold quite a lot of technical knowledge. So, when asked, we should be able to answer your queries. For me, the best results come from working together. That means that I know what is coming up in my clients’ life: from getting married, buying a new house, children, school fees, their bucket list and the end of life.

How do we achieve the status of partnership? 

Firstly, our fees are structured to include unlimited emails and phone calls on ad-hoc matters. It usually also includes two one-hourly meetings. This means that the client can call up without fear of a bill landing on their doormat or inbox.

Secondly, we meet our prospective clients to make sure we get on. We are all different and therefore respond to different personalities. To have any chance of making the best of that partnership, we need to have a good rapport. I try my best to take the extra time to get to know clients in that initial stage. I think it is necessary to recognize at a later date that your views on things may be different and be brave enough to disengage with that client. When this has happened, we first try to see if there is a better ‘fit’ with another member of the team. I have found that a disengage process doesn’t have to be painful if you are honest about why that partnership isn’t working.

My advice to businesses is to find that accountant that can be just as enthused by your business and your dreams, with people who are technically sound and you can have a smile with.

Victoria Mason FCCA has been a Partner at Cardens Accountants since the inception of the practice in 2006. She has created her own partnerships with clients through approachable advice and restoring faith with clients after being let down by an accountant in the past.

Her work filters across many different levels: from HMRC and Companies House compliance work; tax planning; business valuations to management accounting. A priority for Victoria is adding value for clients as, after having two daughters, she understands that a client’s time is precious.

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