Some say the key to building a successful business lies with its people. And that may well be true of course. But healthy finances must surely come close to the top of the list when determining measures of success.
Finding and nurturing a relationship with your accountant and adopting a proactive approach towards understanding your business can create multiple gains that go beyond filing your tax returns on time.
The role of accountants has evolved
Having the right accountant on board is arguably the best investment you can make when it comes to unbiased, sound advice and accountancy and tax expertise.
Sadly, however, often due to the ‘too much to do, too little time to do it’ scenario we all find ourselves in, many business owners only contact their accountants once a year when the HMRC deadline is looming.
The role of the accountant has changed. While focusing on numbers remains crucial for tax purposes and keeping track of how a business is performing, it is also important to have access to valuable advice on how to run and grow your business.
New software has created more time for growth
The efficiencies created by cloud-based accounting software, including the Government’s plans to introduce Making Tax Digital from 2019, are allowing more opportunities for closer accountant/client working relationships. Many more hours have become available to allow them to focus on the bigger picture.
What you’ll find in a great accountant is a trusted advisor that supports your business, enabling both growth and sustainability.
Inviting them on board for more than just the busy tax season can be the best strategy you will ever follow, because what you’ll be cultivating is a year-round relationship.
It can be like having access to your own Accountancy Department, Strategist and Business Consultant all rolled into one, at a fraction of the cost!
Build a proactive and personal relationship
When determining what’s needed to deliver ongoing growth and financial wellbeing for your business, and you, there are a number of core factors. There are many pieces needed for the success pie and having a personal relationship with your accountant should be a priority.
Now we’re not talking “move into the spare room” personal relationship here, let’s be clear! But we are talking about sharing every aspect of your business story possible. Your accountant needs to know the full picture to enable them to make the best judgements and advise accordingly.
Prioritise the milestones for your business
There are several milestones for a business when the advice of an accountant should be a consideration. When first starting out on your business journey, for instance, you should consult them on the best business structure for you. Use their vast experience to help you find the right structure and you could potentially save tax each year.
The right structure can also protect your business and personal assets from creditors or if legal proceedings are brought against you. Consider too their advice on business structure when planning for the future; that could be a sale or passing your business on to your children.
Your accountant can review your business plan
We can all set out with the best intentions when starting a new enterprise. Therefore, having an impartial business advisor take a look at your plans may save you time and money in the long run. They can draw on their experience to identify pitfalls you might have overlooked or be unaware of.
You could also ask your accountant for advice before applying for finance or placing your business on the market.
Advice on the day-to-day running of your business
Advice should also be sought on many everyday issues and even the growth of your business. Requesting their advice for a few hours a month means you get highly experienced and professional consultancy at a fraction of the cost of employing a full-time board member or director.
The rise of cloud-based accounting software mentioned earlier, also means your accountant can readily access your data at any time. This information not only facilitates the necessary accounting of your business, but it also enables them to understand and advise you on how your business can be improved. In short, they can act as an advisor and sounding board for any financial and administrative issues.
Manage your accounts proactively
Any business owner knows it’s crucial to have accurate records. These are vital at the start of your new venture and throughout the life of your business. Asking your accountant to manage these allows them to ask questions. They can then apply their expertise to prevent any errors, or catch any early on.
Set realistic targets for growth
It’s invaluable to any business to have access to a professional advisor who can point out areas for concern that may not be immediately obvious.
An accountant can look at the efficiencies of your business. They can access data that can be used to benchmark against similar companies in your sector. Your accountant can also help set targets. Introducing you to software and systems can help you achieve and track these goals.
A great accountant will pay for themselves
Well, not literally of course! But you see, an accountant can be so much more than a ‘number cruncher’ employed to appease the tax man. They can work alongside you to grow your business. Your accountant can also offer experience and advice that, in the long run, can save you time and money.
Even if your tax returns are simple, your accountant will be a sound business advisor. So nurturing a positive, personal relationship with them can be crucial to your success.
They’ll be up to date with tax laws. They can also offer a good brainstorming session to explore ideas for growth to generate momentum.
The more they know about your business, the more they will be able to help. So be proactive, find yourself a great accountant, and enjoy the benefits!