A great accountant is not only a valuable resource for tax planning and accounting for your small business; they can also offer advice on other aspects of your business.
Finding the right accountant and working closely with them is a vital part of growing your business, but how do you do this?
We’ve compiled 5 tips to ensure you get the most out of your accountant to help grow your business.
So, if you want to consider your accountant to be a vital asset to your business consider these 5 things.
- Recognise your own strengths & limitations
- Help your accountant to help you
- Be prepared
- Take advantage of ‘free’ consultations
- Look before you leap
As a business owner you need to be across the fundamentals of your business and have a working knowledge of all the important areas for day-to-day operations. However you don’t need to be an expert in every aspect of your business.
As an example if you have a law firm do you repair your own photocopier? The chances are you don’t, instead you get someone else to do it because you realize that they could probably do it more efficiently, reliably and it would be more cost-effective.
When it comes to business structure set up, tax planning, capital gains tax, financial analysis and other highly specialized areas however business owners will often turn to Google for help. There is nothing wrong with trying to solve problems yourself, but is it cost-effective to do so? If you’re a car mechanic is it worth the time it takes to do accounting tasks or would that time be better spent ‘on the tools’ or looking for more business.
A key to success in small business is to know and recognise your strengths and limitations and outsource what you are not best at to other professions and you should see a big difference to your business.
Accountants are essentially paid for their skills, time and the value they add to your business.
This means that the more organised you are the less time it takes the accountant to get the work done. More importantly it also means they can spend more time looking for opportunities to improve your business and fast track its growth.
One of the biggest inefficiencies is when an accountant must revisit a job multiple times because they cannot get the information from clients to complete it. Another is when business owners only tell half of the story at the start (usually unintentionally), which means the accountant must make changes and rework the project later.
A few suggestions for creating more efficiency in order to get the most out of your accountant:
- Ask for a checklist and give them all the documents quickly and in one go.
- Answer queries from your accountant ASAP or point them in the direction of the best person to get the information they need.
- Take action in a timely manner and implement the solutions agreed with your accountant to save the need for follow-ups.
- Seek input from your accountant about how to improve your bookkeeping to make their lives easier.
A little preparation will help you to maximise the benefits of the time you spend together and get the most out of your accountant.
This means doing your homework before the meeting so that you can set realistic goals and expectations for their involvement. It will also help you to ask relevant questions and to understand and act upon the advice given.
Many accountants offer free consultations at one time or another. Take advantage of them! Here at Frederiks Accountants our first consultation is free as it’s a good idea to get a feel for each other and find out if we’re a good fit.
For a small business it’s again important to do your homework and think about what you want to cover. Consider sending the accountant a summary of your business situation, your needs and set out the issues you need assistance with before your meeting.
In this way, the accountant will have enough time and background information to give the issue serious thought beforehand; the discussion in the meeting should then be of greater benefit to you. It will also help you find out whether the accountant really understands your business and has potential solutions for your main issues.
I’m sure your mum or grandmother used to tell you to look before you leap, but you probably didn’t think it would apply to your small business did you?
Basically when you’re looking at entering into various different arrangements you need to consider the full implications of your actions. A short telephone call, email or meeting with your accountant can save a lot in reducing missed opportunities and unexpected risks in the future.
We do see clients who have entered into agreements that has seen them miss out on certain tax advantages that could have easily been claimable if they had done things slightly differently.
So there you have it 5 tips that will help you increase the chances of getting what you need from your accountant to grow your business and develop a rewarding relationship.