Phillip Bates stood outside smiling

Cheshire accountant says businesses expect more from their advisers

A Cheshire accountant says businesses are increasingly looking for greater support from their professional advisers.

Phillip Bates, the Principal at Phillip Bates & Co accountants in Neston, says business owners expect “a lot more than the numbers”.

Bates offers a specialist business development programme for firms looking for a more hands-on role. This involves Phil and his team helping owners to maximise their company’s potential through the development of a clear business strategy.

This service can include attendance at monthly board meetings and spending time within the client’s business.

Phil, who has worked with business owners for over 30 years, said: “The continuing economic uncertainty has left many business owners in a state of confusion.

“One day, they hear good news about the economy, while the next the news is less promising. This makes it very hard to forecast and plan with conviction because the fear is always there that the economy will start to slide again.

“This continuing state of uncertainty means that business owners are rightly more demanding than ever of their professional advisers. They don’t just want them to present them with a set of accounts – instead, they want far more proactivity and mentoring.

“Our business development programme for business owners is a key part of this approach and has helped a number of companies put in place plans for growth.”

Brian Blanchfield, the former owner of Wirral-based manufacturer BMB Weatherproof Canopies, is one client who went through the business development programme.

Phil advised Brian for more than 15 years before the successful sale of BMB earlier this year which saw more than 20 companies express an interest in buying the £2million turnover business.

Blanchfield said: “Phil’s advice and guidance has been invaluable over the years and he became a key part of our business, including attending monthly board meetings.

“Running a successful business requires many different skills and I would be the first to admit that the accountancy side of things is not my strongest area. This is why the relationship with Phil was so important – he is insistent on setting realistic yearly budgets and each month he is able to give us a good indication about our finances and the general state of the market.

“He is also invaluable in terms of helping us understand the financial pressures around stock control, overtime and other key factors in a business. Phil has played a crucial role in ensuring that our business was ready for sale.”

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