On this episode of Business Built Freedom, Josh is joined by guest Drue Schofield from 4Front to discuss the importance of professional accounting services in various industries. Drue emphasizes the need for properly evaluating intangible services, such as financial advisers and IT professionals, to ensure clients are getting the best value. They share a personal experience highlighting the importance of transparent and fair pricing.
Drue Schofield is the managing director of 4Front, an integrated financial advisory business based in Queensland. They have a strong focus on planned growth and success putting their people, clients and community at the forefront of everything they do. Their primary focus is accounting and financial advisory for small and medium businesses, helping their clients to help plan, grow and achieve their version of success.
The Importance of Intangible Services
Like how Dorks Delivered simplifies problems through our IT services and help our clients achieve their end goal with technology as the fulcrum, accountants and financial advisors also offer valuable intangible services. For instance, Drue and 4Front provides advice to people when they need it. They’re succinct and to the point; they remove jargon. They educate their clients so that they fully understand what they’re getting themselves into. As a business owner, you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Professionals services are meant to help you avoid problems at all costs.
New Business Owners Wearing Too Many Hats
It’s common for new business owners to wear too many hats in the beginning. When I first started out in business, was I was scared about doing the accounting, especially doing it wrong. I bought a bunch of books and got any of the different government books that I could get on GST.
It wasn’t fun and it didn’t make me feel any better because it’s like trying to pretend I’m a doctor or pretend I’m a mechanic, when I’m not. You can teach a man to fish and he’ll have food for life, but some people just don’t like fishing. If you don’t like fish or fishing, i.e., IT and accounting, it’s best to look for trusted providers of these services so you can focus on running your business and doing the things you enjoy doing. The results are also better than when you’re wearing all the hats.
Drue shares, “It’s a symptom that we see with clients all the time. They’re too busy doing it. They’re stuck working in their business and not on it. And that’s the sort of focus that we try to shift, and a mindset we try to change with clients. ‘You need to work on your business and not in it.’ We’ve got the tools, the expertise, and the advice and products to actually help clients work more on their business and not in it. And things like that come up all the time.
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Importance of Finding the Right People
Providers of professional services are not necessarily a one-stop shop. Drue explains, “When people think of accountants, they think of people that will do financial statements and tax returns to a solid, accurate level. They’ll complete those income tax returns to a point where they’re not paying a dollar more or less tax than they should. And if they’re lucky, they might get a little bit of business advice.”
“Our core competency is compliance work. We work really hard to make sure that things are done properly, correctly, and legally and that our clients don’t pay a dollar more or less tax than they should. “We’re not solicitors, we’re not finance brokers, we’re not R&D grant specialists, but we’ve got a really good network and we spend a lot of time building relationships with the people that will help our clients, so that we can continually prove our motto that we are your key partner in business.”
“There are specialists in every field,” Drue adds. “If you’ve got a problem with your knee, you might start at the GP, but you’ll soon be referred to, potentially, an orthopedic surgeon. The GP isn’t going to be there, but he’s developed a relationship with that person to know that’s the best orthopedic surgeon for your particular problem. We’re the same.”
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Small Business Finance Tips
Drue emphasises, “You’ve got to have a plan. One of the things that’s really important is to do some forecasting, and then you give yourself some measurements or some numbers to measure your current performance against. You’re going to have bad quarters, and that’s just how things are. It might be because of seasonality, it might be because there’s a hereto incurable virus sweeping across the world, but it’s important to take a longer-term view of things and look at your business and see if there is anything that’s fundamentally wrong with the business now.”
“Most business people will have a gut feeling, that’s why they are entrepreneurs and that’s why they are business people, they tend to go with their gut. Perhaps more. It’s sort of an intuitive thing, but you can’t underestimate the power and the value of good, succinct, solid, financial advice from your accountant or your advisor.”
“Unfortunately, we’ve had clients that have had businesses go under, where we haven’t been appointed as advisors quick enough, and we haven’t been able to make changes early enough. It’s really sad. And sometimes these aren’t young people, sometimes these are well-established people in their 30s, 40s or 50s where industries have changed and they’ve been left behind.”
“And I like to think that if our clients, and future clients, start to work with us closer with this Board of Advice program, the amount of accountability adds is tremendous. And it’s going to get good results because we’re spending that time to sit with our clients and we’re their professional sounding board. They can throw anything they like at us. We’ll have our own insights and our own observations, which we can give advice around and make changes.”
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Drue shares, “I had a plumbing client recently that is new to the firm, and he reported a $20,000 loss last year, and he couldn’t work out why so I’ve sat down with him. On a quick analysis, I’ve worked out that his gross profit line is wrong. He didn’t have the right numbers in there. Once I put the right numbers in there, whilst it was still bad, it made the data more realistic, and it told a better story. He was having an over reliance on subcontractors and labour hire, and we feel he wasn’t marking up the materials enough. So we did a quick little “for example” calculation of if he replaced this person with this person and this with that and perhaps got rid of some of the labour hire and some of subcontractor at work, and replace that with a more permanent workforce, and then changed the markup he was putting on the cost of sales. We were able to turn it into an $86,000 profit.”
Make sure your business is going in the right direction and your numbers are right. Get in touch with Drue Schofield.