Take a look around most accountant’s websites or marketing materials and you’ll no doubt come across the term ‘proactive accountant’ lurking somewhere in the copy describing their practice services.

But what do they mean by ‘proactive accountant’ exactly?

At Tyrrell, it’s a term we’ve come to dislike, mainly because it infers that there are accountants that aren’t proactive. And we know that proactivity is something that’s the absolute bedrock of our services – and always has been.

What’s a proactive accountant?

It’s a strange term, when you stop to think about it: ‘proactive accountant’.

If your accountant isn’t consciously being proactive in dealing with your finances and business issues then what are they doing? Proactivity is an integral part of being an adviser, after all. It’s a term as meaningless as ‘health-focused doctor’ or ‘educated teacher’.


But, that said, there is a fundamental difference in the kind of service you’ll get from accountancy firms. And that critical difference comes down to two key things:The technology they use to run their practice and your accounts.The practice’s underlying philosophy of what ‘accountancy services’ means.

  • The technology they use to run their practice and your accounts.
  • The practice’s underlying philosophy of what ‘accountancy services’ means.

If you wanted to break that down into its most simple terms, we’re talking about ‘traditional’ firms, versus modern, cloud-based firms.

The traditional approach

Traditional accountants differ from cloud accountants in one very important way. The old-school practice deals almost exclusively in historic numbers and what’s happened to your business in the past.

In part, this is down to the limitations of their technology and processes. Desktop-based systems, or even paper-based systems, can generally only look backwards at the numbers that have been entered into the books. 

This focus on backwards-looking compliance work, like bookkeeping, expenses, tax returns and year-end accounts, is what was once expected of the traditional ‘bean counter’. And it’s a stereotype that’s still prevalent in some business circles.

But if the focus is on historic data, it’s extremely difficult for the accountant to be proactive. The key to giving timely, insightful business advice is having a sound overview of where your client’s business is right now, and also where it’s likely to be in the future.

If your accountant doesn’t have this real-time viewpoint, the guidance they can give you when making business decisions will be limited, to say the least.

The cloud accountant

So, how does Tyrrell & Company, as s cloud accountant, differ from this traditional stereotype?

Firstly, there’s a change in the technology used. Modern cloud accounting packages work online, not from a local drive, and make use of tools and ‘Add-on’ plug-ins that automate a lot of the record-keeping. And, crucially, a system like Xero online accounting has a live feed to the client’s bank accounts – so you always have a completely up-to-date view of your financial situation as it is right now.

  • Cloud accounting software records all your historic transactions
  • But also provides a completely current balance and financial overview
  • And gives you a future view of your cash flow and forecasting.

Secondly, our focus is very much on collaborating with you to secure the future success of your business. We’ll help you deal with all your historic compliance, of course, but that’s not our sole aim. As your trusted business adviser, we’re here to improve your business processes, understand your long-term objectives and give you the strategic guidance you need to make those goals a reality.

In short, we really are that ‘proactive accountant’ that you read so much about. But we prefer to think of ourselves as your valued business adviser – your cloud expert with the commercial and business knowledge needed to help you prosper.

Get proactive with our Xero Trifecta

Are you looking to get more from your accountant? Then why not come and talk to us about moving to Xero’s cloud accounting platform and getting all the benefits of our years of experience as business advisers.

Our Xero Trifecta is the perfect combination of Xero online accounting, and the trio of Receipt Bank, Spotlight Reporting and Chaser Add-ons – plug-ins that create a fully formed business system for your company.

Get in touch to arrange a free Xero Trifecta session with one of our cloud advisers.