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Whatever business you’re in, you’ll know that some customers are a good fit. Perhaps you stand for something they believe in, and they’re pleased to support you. Perhaps you just get on really well with each other.

At Merlin, we have a good idea who we’ll work best with. We’re a bit choosy about taking on new clients. That’s because we believe this leads to the best outcome for everyone. We know that we can’t be all things to all people. We’d rather work with the business owners who get the most from the skills we offer. 

If you’re thinking about asking us for help with your business, here’s a checklist you might find useful. It’s our way of thinking through which clients we can help the most.

You know that success isn’t just about the long hours

If you’re set in your ways, we can’t help you explore new opportunities. That’s no fun, and it’s unlikely to help your business in the long-term. Because we understand numbers, we have the skills to help you as a critical friend, not just an accountant.

That means we like to be encouraging and supportive, but also expect you to listen to honest and candid feedback. It may be uncomfortable or difficult to hear, but it’s always based on critical thinking and difficult questions that uncover the truth.

It’s also important to remember that all your numbers, data and insights come from the past. A new competitor, a rogue variable or a random event can throw the most beautiful plan into chaos. Having that extra pair of eyes to help you adapt is good for you – and us. 

You love setting goals and working together

Our most interesting clients aren’t just spinning the wheels – they can see the potential in their business, and are ambitious. In one of the case studies on our website, we tell the story of a construction company who more than doubled their gross profit in one year.

We ran a report for them, comparing performance to others in the same sector. It showed that the top performers were getting way more gross profit than the owners’ target. When he realised this, his mindset and ambition changed. Knowing that others were making such high profits showed him that he could do it, too. 

It’s great to work with ambitious clients because we can buy into and share your goals. That often means aiming for the highest sales or profits, but not necessarily. Everyone has different goals. Some people are building a reliable nest-egg, others are looking to reduce their hours or retire early. 

You think about growth first, not cutting costs

Our proven method gives business owners a better way of managing numbers. It means focusing on the metrics that really matter – based on your goals, lifestyle and circumstances. It’s a good fit for those looking for an accountant as an investment rather than a cost.

If you want an accountant or business coach who’s more passive, perhaps Merlin’s not right for you. If you just want someone to do only the accounts and tax return, we’re not a good fit. We’ll be helpful though, and can always recommend others to do this for you.

You give back to the community

Our business revolves around helping business owners achieve their goals. That’s good for society, as this creates jobs and the tax revenue for our public services. But when your only focus is making money, that can unbalance things. You can lose sight of your broader role in the community. 

We know the area, the people, and are very involved in what’s going on in the Exeter area. For example, one of the local charities we support is the Devon Wildlife Trust, who look after around 40 nature reserves in the local area. Ideally, we like to work with clients who share the same attitude, and put a little something back. 

Sorry, but Plymouth and Bristol are a bit too far away for us. We live and work in Exeter, and make sure all our clients are within a 45-minute drive. That allows us to build a personal relationship with everyone we support.

You like a bit of certainty

In any business relationship, how we do things can be just as important as what we do. When it comes to agreeing a fair reward, all our clients appreciate Merlin’s fixed-fee policy. It means we won’t change our prices, regardless of the time needed to get the job done. So you can call at any time knowing you’ll never be charged extra for our time or advice. We will never hide charges or send surprise bills.

If this checklist rings a bell, you’ve come to the right place. Or perhaps you’re not there yet, and in an earlier stage of your business journey. Maybe you need some help with your vision, plan and goals. Either way, we’d be pleased to hear from you here. 

We may not be the cheapest, but we deliver that little bit more. 

Tel: 01392 272972 Email: