I am not a number

19th February 2020

“I am not a number… I am a free man!”

If you grew up in the 1960s, you’ll immediately be able to visualise Number Six, captured and interned in The Village, shouting into the wind that he is a unique individual, not an anonymous prisoner.

(And if you have no idea what I’m talking about… Go watch the classic TV series, The Prisoner, right now!)

Now, far be it for me to compare myself to the legendary Patrick McGoohan, but sometimes I feel like yelling out a similar protest:

“I am not an accountant… I am a Finance Director!”

OK, I agree that it might not have the exact same power or cultural resonance, and probably would not have become a cult hit TV show.

There’s also the added problem that I am, in fact, an accountant (Although I guess the Prisoner was, in fact, a number!) It would actually be more accurate to say that I am not “just” an accountant.

But I still stand by my point.

You see, people who don’t know us that well here at Insight Associates often place us in the “Accountants” bucket.

But that’s a really misleading understanding of what we do…

As you may have gathered from my last few blogs, traditional accountants don’t really add value to most businesses – certainly not businesses which have hit £1 million or £2 million and really need help making financially astute decisions going forward.

Most of the work they do is compliance-led, so it’s essential, certainly in the legal sense.

But it’s backwards-looking. Annual accounts and tax returns focus on what happened in the past, not what you need to be doing in the future.

Because a lot of what they do has been commoditised, most accountants aren’t paid enough to spend time really getting to know your business. As a result, they simply can’t offer bespoke, in-depth, relevant financial advice to you.

That’s how most company owners end up disappointed that their accountant isn’t proactive enough…

…And upset that they don’t get the financial input they need to really drive their companies forward.

Now, don’t get me wrong. What accountants do is important – because every company needs good, reliable numbers to work from.

That’s why accountancy forms the basis of our work here at Insight Associates. We do everything that your traditional accountant does, albeit at a world-class level, instituting robust financial systems and processes so that your finances always run like clockwork.

But then we build on that.

First, we generate much deeper reports into your financial position.

For example, you get monthly accounts that track KPIs that are bespoke to you, budgets that help you prioritise where you need to invest, and cash flow forecasts so we can make sure there’s always money in the bank.

We help you understand the numbers we’ve generated, so that you have a thorough view of your company’s financial position.

Then we use those numbers to help you plan ahead, and to make better, well-informed decisions about your future.

Those are the jobs of a Finance Director…

…And those are the actions that really elevate your financial management, so that it becomes an essential driver of growth – not just something you have to do because you’re legally obligated.

Here is what a couple of our clients said recently about the help and support they have received from us:

“Garry has the seemingly simple ability to turn the complexities of accountancy into a form of words that simple muggles can understand. Garry is also a businessmen in his own right so he can empathise with the complexities and stresses associated with managing a company.

“He not only uses his accountancy skills, but also his experience to guide and mentor without being condescending or arrogant.” -  Chris Price, General Manager, North Yorkshire Moors Railway

“Garry has been like our financial ‘midwife’ since the company was born, and without him we wouldn’t have made it through our infancy let alone grown in to the strapping teenager we are now.

“Garry has not only always been there to give sage financial guidance and advice, but he also has the uncanny ability of being able to listen to the most convoluted and industry-specific business issues (and ours is a mad industry), that in theory should be beyond his area of expertise, and cut straight through to the core of a problem and then suggest the most appropriate solution.

“We literally could not (and would not) run our business without his never-ending help, advice and support.”  - Steve Richards, Managing Director, Dyamo Limited

If that’s the kind of financial input and help you’d like in your business, email me today, or call us on 01279 647 447.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you – just don’t call me an accountant ;-)


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