This week we have been let out to the office and we are at the Digital Accountancy Show in Hotspurs Stadium, London.
Director of Saint, Dylan O’Rourke was asked to speak on the Tech Academy Panel to discuss the topic of Re-engineering construction: Tech and apps for servicing construction clients.
We are here to talk on a panel to provide knowledge and insight to other accountants and advise how to better work with the construction industry in order to provide a better solution for businesses like yourself.
Someone asked “what makes you a construction accountant then? What's actually the difference?”
I gave them the usual accountant talk saying having a niched client base allows you to focus and provide a better service, let alone the tax disciplines. We are different because we have evolved from the norm and we provide so much more in the ways of helping the businesses. We are very strong on the operational side and we give immediate help and relief to the person running the admin and finance function of the business.
That question alone gave me the idea of how many people think a construction accountant and a normal accountant are the same? And that’s what lead me to write this while waiting to go up to the panel.
🤔 So what makes Saint different from other accountants?
We deal with the trade only, this gives us the advantage to connect and more importantly understand our clients. If we had to deal with a hairdresser or flower shop it would be very different. I think Saint are unique. The old way, you would just have an accountant, with Saint you work with an accountant, a big difference.
We combine accountancy and our business services with the owner's energy so when you sign up, there is no dip after the proposal period, no honeymoon phase, just complete continued support. For example, we provide a Free of Charge (FOC) Quarterly Meeting to review the services you have with us, understand where you were, where you are, and what’s next.
The Construction industry can be an enigma, a Pandora's box of madness, it's the chaos theory wrapped in a riddle - it feels like they are spinning and they can't catch their breath to get off to take a moment for the fog to clear.
🚧 The Site V Office - Who gets the benefit of an Accountant
When the teams are on-site, yeah it’s hard for them but in the office the pace is faster, much faster.
This is a famous dispute between the two, with the on-site team site thinking the office has it easy and the office base thinking they have it easy.
When working on-site, it’s easy to just switch off and crack on. Of course, that changes from job to job ie a loft over an extension but they can get into a flow of work.
Whereas the office can be a bag of madness. It’s not just the disruptions, it’s not just doing the right thing next, it’s the constant learning curve feeling as the feedback from sites, clients and just running business all collide. It makes you feel anxious. There is always this new task to not just do but also learn, it’s painful and knocks confidence.
Being trade, your office can be a van, a corner of a site with a bit of ply, a cabin or even offices while trying to keep them nice, it ends up having the floor littered with little presents for the workforce to take, sheets of paper with bits on them like a Hilti core bit, a breaker for a site or a part to go. It’s chaos but organised chaos.
Some clients want a RAM in a certain way or a quote reworded so it meets a budget criteria. Dealing with each other is also hard. You think you having an okay day and then your fellow director rings in having been tortured on-site or just knackered and they hit you with their pressure which just adds to it all.
Yes, there are some construction offices that are calm but in the main, the same energy spikes are going on.
🏅 What Makes Saint Trade Specialists?
We know what it is like out there, the tempo, the chase. When we talk to you sometimes you’re on the ball, sometimes broken. Happy, Sad, Mad or Glad, we know how much you try, things can affect your day and we care enough to be the support to help you for once when work has you feeling as if it's all been an uphill battle with no breaks. We know about the retentions, the 60 days, the QS’s and the knockers, the men, the plant and so on…
So when we see for example a finance problem that really turns out to be fed from an operational problem be it office or site side we can help with solutions which cure a long-term finance bottleneck improving the business success.
When you have been on-site and then come back to an office set up you can feel sometimes like your brain has been wiped. You are now back at your desk and are going through paperwork trying to piece where you have been and even finding out you have done an extra job that you have not invoiced for only because the Selco invoice reminded you. We can help with all of this which provides accurate figures and peace of mind.
We know your mind is doing so many different disciplines and then to sit down and emotionally connect with the company's finance function, it’s not the most attractive moment and you probably feel there are areas that are more important at the moment.
Construction business owners can walk around thinking about their finances, are we okay? Will we be all right? Why? Because they tend to scan. They scan all the time, they scan feelings for anything they forgot or need to do or add to a list and so it goes on. The stomach tightens, anxiety and cortisol pumps and they plug back into this mad machine as they approach their day. This often comes about from the Director keeping everything in their head and it's more common than you think! We can help you get that weight off your shoulders.
As you know we like to do what other accountants are not really interested in and that's the bookkeeping as we say it's like holding the heart of the business, the foundations of the business. It tells us so much. We then build on that data and also by talking to you we hope to see things coming, good and bad. This is another real connector. We mostly know your staff members names or sites, can your accountant say that?
Some accountants outsource the yearly books to huge accountancy farms in India or the Philippines. I remember one of us at a trade show like this today and being asked who “offshores“ their work. About 10% including us did not put their hands up.
It’s up to 40%-70% cheaper to farm but they do not know your business, the little moves you can make and miss things. If you have submitted your books and your accountant asks you a really odd question which should be apparent if they knew your business chances are they are getting your data and wiring it abroad.
That's why the bookkeeping is not attractive to them, it has no relevance anymore, someone else is doing the books, it’s being subbed out. They may know a bit, make an effort and ask a few questions, make a few notes but then for some reason you’re passed to someone else and 3 years later although lots of smiles while you pay, you can feel it. The disconnect. You have become a file number.
😉 Changing accountants shouldn't feel scary!
“Why are you with your accountants?” is something I often ask businesses. The answers I normally receive are “We have just been with them from the start” or “they are cheap” or “they seem nice”. Where is the answer that says they are a pivotal part of the business, integrated at many levels offering an amazing service because that's what Saint aims to provide.
Have you simply outgrown them? Have they guided and taken you as far as they can? If I see a good Construction business, I know they have a good accountant. This means their energy levels are high and match each other. Are your energy levels higher than your accountants, you may love them, but can you feel the drop in energy available from them? Are they calling you telling you things or do you seem to be the one ringing them and asking questions? Is this the best business and personal decision you can make by staying with your current accountant?
Saint are successful at making your company successful long term. High energy, high output, no day rate mentality, no plodding. We look to remove the doubt feeling you have in your stomach about your business and are there to support you.
If you are looking to move accountants let’s have a chat, we can handle the move quickly and very tactfully. We can even say diplomatically the move is purely a business decision only to help with new tender requirements and streamline processes as we combine the media, accounts and admin (H&S and accreditations) all in the Saint Portal.
🎉 Taking Action
We know the trade, the rollercoaster of emotions, to the person who does the finance and paperwork side we can help stop the spinning and help with the things you have been putting off. We aim to bring you back more focus and control of not just your business but life in general. Our motto for our clients is to ensure they have more time, retain your wealth, peace of mind for you and your family.
We treat our clients when they come on board like the shining lights they are capable of becoming, we constantly push the confidence button and we stay with them encouraging them to develop. What have you got to lose? Sometimes in life you have to go for your goal and take certain risks, it’s called fun! We want to be that fresh blast to your company.
If you leave your accountant now and go to just another accountant you will basically get just the same.
Saint are different, we want to get you to first stop to reconnect with the you who started, the goals or what had to change in your life at that moment and use that energy. We are the fuel that will ignite your business. This will stop the self attacks of driving yourself mad why you could not achieve the level you wanted before. You simply needed support alongside you.
We get you back on track to think about your real reasons and goals. Its power and motivation for the brain. Add that to our Dashboards, Media, Admin, Business Development and Trade Coaching you have got a serious partner who helps you get what you want.
This is the evolution of accountancy for the construction industry. Why work with an accountant that does not truly understand your business?
Frequently asked questions
This article has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.
PS. Whenever you are ready, here's how to grow your construction business...
1. Join our Facebook Group which built completely for businesses within the construction industry. Real people, real support. - Now also available on LinkedIn.
2. Keep up to date with Construction Insider Providing you with industry insight, tips & tricks and much more to make sure you are ahead of your competitors!
3. When you are ready, Become a Saint Financial Group client, and we will provide you with the highest quality solutions to effectively scale your construction business. Book your meeting here!
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