The accounting profession is morphing with accountants being called upon to become advisors to their clients. This is being driven by not only the demand for these services but also is seen as an opportunity by accountants to ‘value add’ to their existing customer base and broaden their revenue pool. The drive for accountants to ensure that their clients remain loyal to them often means that they will strive for the intangible status of “trusted advisor”
Friendly accountants to a distressed business, with the best intentions, sometimes ‘lend’ their staff into an organisation in distress to try and help them out. This benevolence can have unfortunate unintended consequences for the good Samaritan. Jumping into the trench with your client when they are in financial distress can sometimes seem like the right thing to do. However, seeking independent advice about the prospects of turning around a distressed client is often the best approach and helps place distance between you and your client’s potentially unrecoverable financial position.
While providing advice, offering guidance and giving recommendations to a client is all well and good, becoming an intrinsic part of the client’s business or entrenched within their organisation may see the accountant or seconded staff member become a de facto director and may expose both your organisation and that staff member to attack.