Question in full:
Over the last couple of years we have been working hard to reduce our costs. We have had success in some areas but so far have steered clear of looking at how we can reduce the charges from our bank and accountants. How should we tackle this, and how are we most likely to be able to make savings in these more difficult areas?
There is a simple approach you can take to reducing bank charges, which is to call your Relationship Manager at your bank and ask him/her for a detailed breakdown of where you incur cost and, most importantly, ideas on how you can utilise different service/delivery methods to be more efficient.
As a general rule, using automated systems to pay suppliers/wages and receive income will prove much cheaper than traditional ‘paper’-based methods. Also, if possible avoid paying in or withdrawing cash, as this is the most expensive transaction you will undertake. With regard to accountants’ costs, it would be worth checking ways you could undertake perhaps more of the preparation work that your accountant simply ‘verifies’. You may also be able to install software systems that your accountant uses – while there may be an upfront cost, in the longer term there should be a benefit, as this will cut down on duplication. Finally, as a last resort you can shop around for a better deal, although of course this has time and cost implications, so an honest discussion should prove fruitful.