Author: Minna Zhu, Director Date Posted: 8 February 2018
A good accountant is not only a valuable resource for planning accounting and tax for your business; you should be able to turn to them for advice on almost every aspect of your operations.
Finding the right accountant and working with them closely is therefore a vital step – but this is easier said than done for many business owners.
How can you increase the chances of getting what you need from your accountant to grow your business? How do you get the most out of your accountant?
Here are five of the best tips we’ve found for business owners who are looking to develop a rewarding relationship with their accountant…
1. Recognise your strengths & limitations
Do you repair your own photocopier?
While it’s a mechanical task that may be accomplished with the use of a manual, why do so few business owners do it? The answer is generally that they recognise that somebody else can do it more efficiently, reliably, and cost-effectively.
So why do many over-worked business owners take the reverse approach when it comes to business structure set up, tax planning, capital gains tax, financial analysis, and a host of other highly specialised areas?
They get out the text books or ask, “Dr Google” to help them develop professional accounting expertise.
There is nothing wrong with trying to solve problems yourself, if it is cost-effective to do so. However, if the time you spend in accounting tasks was invested in winning more business or improving service delivery for clients, you would generally get better returns.
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. But you don’t need be an expert in every aspect of your business.
Recognise your strengths and limitations. Outsource what you are not best at to the professionals and see what a difference it makes to you and your business!
2. Help your accountant to help you
Accountants are essentially paid for their skills, time, and the value they add to your business.
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 (most of the time unintentionally), meaning the accountant must make changes and rework the project later.
Here are a few suggestions for creating more efficiency in order to get the most out of your accountant – and lower your fees in the process:
3. Be prepared!
Before consulting with accountants or any other professionals, it is always worthwhile getting an overview of their expertise and how they may be able to help your business.
Being prepared and doing your homework before the meeting will help you set realistic goals and expectations for their involvement. It will also help you to ask relevant and intelligent questions and to understand and act upon the advice given.
A little preparation will help you to maximise the benefits of the time you spend together and get the most out of your accountant.
4. Take advantage of ‘free’ consultations
Many accountants offer free consultations at one time or another. Take advantage of them!
Again, you will get more out of these consultations if, before the meeting, you do a little homework on what you want to cover. Consider sending the accountant a summary of your business situation, your needs/pain points, and set out the issues you need assistance with.
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.
5. Look before you leap - and don’t take short-cuts
We all know that prevention is better than cure.
Business owners, in the spirit of exercising their entrepreneurship, often enter into arrangements without considering the full implications of their actions.
A short telephone call or meeting with your accountant may cost a little now but it can save a lot in reducing missed opportunities and unexpected risks in the future.
Not getting the most out of your present accounting set up? If you need a chat about your situation, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.