How to get the most out of your accountant
Traditionally accountants have been seen as ‘bean counters’ who saw the world in numbers and tax legislation.
In reality though, accountants have always had more expertise than meets the eye and their roles are becoming increasingly important in today’s fast-paced business world.
In the corporate world, the Chief Financial Officer and/or the management accountant has always been an integral part of the business. Rarely would a CEO or MD make any business decision without involving their ‘wing man’ – aka, accountant.
Important strategic and of course financial decisions are typically signed off by the finance department in large organisations.
Yet when it comes to small-medium businesses (SMB) or small-medium enterprises (SME), the humble accountant becomes a once/year resource – only to be seen or contacted at tax time.
At best, some business may engage with their accountants once/quarter (BAS time).
SMB / SME owners are overlooking an extremely valuable resource for their business by not proactively engaging with their accountant on a more frequent basis.
Your typical accountant today has more contacts and knowledge than you may give them credit for.
Without overstepping the boundary, an accountant can offer valuable business advisory services without the formalities.
Let me just qualify this – business advisory services assist in all aspects of business from managing finances, marketing your product or service better and more widely, embarking on research and development activities, to improving your operations.
Now while an accountant should not promote themselves as a business advisory service, unless they specifically have formal expertise in relevant areas, they can though add value to SMB / SME owners by pointing them in the right directions.
Consider this – an accountant comes across and engages with a diverse range of people and businesses in their line of work.
In their dealings, they will engage with businesses who may specialise in specific areas e.g. Business Transformation, Marketing & PR, Tech Based Companies etc.
These dealings could be through providing accounting services to these specialist businesses or they may have come across them through their own networks.
The point being that your accountant is most likely highly-connected and well versed in current business trends, technologies and methodologies – so why not take advantage of this font of knowledge!
Here’s a brief checklist for SMB / SME owner’s for engaging more with their accountants:
First and foremost, don’t be shy to ask a question – as we’ve been told time and time again, there’s no such thing as a silly question – so if in doubt, ask your accountant.
You as the business owner are doing what you do best – your business – you also know what you want to achieve, this is where your accountant comes in – they can help to translate your business needs into financial goals that can be tracked and measured for success (this is why 90% of SME’s fail because they do not track and measure key business metrics).
Be open to catching up with your accountant every quarter – go one step further by ensuring you do catch up once/quarter for a ‘business health-check’.
Timely tax planning is important, so see your accountant after at March end to plan ahead before the EOFY.
Discuss any concerns regarding your business, not just financial concerns, yet whatever else that may be niggling regarding the business e.g. leadership, sales, people, operations etc.
Proactively build the relationship with your accountant and work together with them. See them as a value add partner and if your accountant is not engaging with you and offering you value-add, then maybe it’s time for you to look for a new one!
For a no obligation consultation, call Aperture Accounting on 0469-235-269