(Time to read this Blog article is about 3 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are 3 things that caught my eye this week:

  1. The countries with the most cases of Corona Virus are…USA, Brazil, Russia, Spain, UK, Italy and France. The leaders of all of these countries are men. The countries that have best managed the virus are Germany, Taiwan, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Denmark.  These countries are all lead by women.  I rest my case. 
  2. Times are tough for most folks these days. So, to quote a special friend of mine, ‘If you see someone without a smile, give them yours!” 😊
  3. Cheryl Cran (nextmapping.com), a speaker / biz coach friend of mine, recently reported that 70% of companies do not have ‘future-ready talent’.  My newly updated Business Tool, ‘Evaluate your ‘Talent Pipeline’ will help you get ‘future ready’ in your business, division or department. To access this insightful Biz Tool, no charge, Click Here.

Now, to this week’s important topic:

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a ‘Cranky Corner’ Blog…but now’s the perfect time.  I’m cranky about certain things. It could be my age…or it might be that, like you, some things just tick me off.  This time I’m ‘cranky’ about public Accounting Firms who promise to take their clients ‘beyond the numbers’ to make better business decisions…but then don’t deliver!  See below…

Are you getting the help you need from your outside Accountants?

Many public Accounting Firms promise that they’ll go ‘beyond the numbers’ to help you make better business decisions.  Their accounting associations run ads promising the same thing.  But my years of experience with the owners of small and medium size businesses is very different.  What they get from their outside accountants is a set of financial statements and an invoice…and that’s it. 

Let me be clear.  There are some truly wonderful Accounting Firms out there serving small and medium size businesses.  But they’re few and far between.

While delivering a Management Boot Camp in Ft. McMurray, Alberta a while back, I worked with a young couple whose business is customizing and accessorizing pickup trucks for folks who work in the oil and gas industry.  Since just about everyone in Ft. McMurray drives a pick-up truck, this should be a profitable business. But it isn’t…and it hasn’t been for seven years.

When I looked at their financial statements, I immediately saw that they’re paying over $280,000 a year in rent for 2nd rate industrial space on the edge of town. That’s over $60 a sq. ft, which crazy high.  But that’s Ft. McMurray…take it or leave it.

With that high rent, there’s no amount of business that this couple could do in that space that’s going to make a profit for them.  They’re working their tails off and it’s going nowhere.  They told me that similar industrial space in Grande Prairie, Alberta, also a resource town, was about $10.00 a sq. ft.

So, here’s the question. “Where the heck has their accountant been for the past seven years?”  Yes, they use an outside Accounting Firm that does their accounting and produces year-end financial statements.  But these accountants have never sat down with this hard-working young couple to review and explain the numbers and help them with some sound business decisions.  Shame on them!      

Last week, I spent an hour on the phone with a couple in New Brunswick who bought a 16-room country inn six years ago and it’s been a money pit ever since.  There is no way this thing can make money and they too have an accountant who hasn’t done his or her job of working with them to make good business decisions.  In fact both their accountant and their bank manager should have recommend against this investment in the 1st place. 

Another client that I’m trying to help has been technically bankrupt for the past three years.  It has no chance of a recovery and their outside Accounting Firm has said absolutely nothing.  Two large banks lent this lady over $200,000 to start the business, which had zero chance of success from day one. They’ll never get a penny of that money back and my client has lost everything.     

This makes me really cranky!  But here’s the rub.  A very sharp accounting friend of mine (who does think like a business person) confessed to me recently, “Accountants are trained to format financial information according to an accepted set of accounting guidelines…and not to make helpful business recommendations.  Some of them are also capable tax advisors, but most of them are not business people.  Just because they can count money doesn’t mean they know how to make money.”

That was a breakthrough for me.  Maybe we, as business people, are expecting something from our outside accountants that they’re simply not trained or ‘wired’ to deliver.  Then, I thought back to when I spent a day with 18 managers and partners with one of these Accounting Firms.  There were only three of that group of 18 who had the business or life experience to effectively advise anyone.  Imagine a 24-year-old client manager, who has never been in business, advising a 70-year business owner on a tax-effective exit strategy, a succession plan and the sale of the business, including complex family estate issues.        

Several accounts have suggested to me that every accountant should take my Management Boot Camp so that they can deliver the clear insight that their clients need.  I’m up for that, if anyone wants to help make it happen.  

In the meantime, are you getting the help and advice that your Accounting Firm promised you…or are you just getting financial statements and an invoice?  If they can deliver the advice you need, demand it.  If they can’t, where will you go for the bottom-line business insight you need?   Perhaps we should talk!

That’s it for this week…

Stay calm…live brilliantly…and do at least 3 important or kind things each day!       

Donald Cooper 


How Donald can help:  Until it’s safe for groups to meet in person, we’re offering remote Business Coaching to business owners and managers around the world who want to improve performance in some or all of these 5 key areas:

  1. Create compelling customer value and experiences that give them a clear competitive advantage.
  2. Market and promote more effectively in a crowded and cynical marketplace.  There’s no point being the best if you’re also the best kept secret.
  3. Attract, lead and retain a dedicated and top-performing team.  The real battle in business today is the battle for talent.
  4. Manage smarter and improve long-term profitability…and to,
  5. Create a clear direction for the future of their business…and a clear Action Plan to get there.

To chat about how I can be helpful, just email me at donald@donaldcooper.com, or phone us at 416-252-3703 in Toronto, Canada.  

One Response to Are you getting the help you need from your outside Accountants?
  1. Love the quote “If you see someone without a smile, give them yours!”


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