Your accountant can help with many essential tasks in your business, like handling your tax returns or doing your annual accounts. An accountant can be much more than this though – they can be a real asset to your business and can help you move your business forward. Here are some tips on how to get the most from your accountant.
In general you should use your accountant for practical needs, but you should also use their expertise to help you plan and improve your business. An accountant’s ability in strategic planning and advisory roles is often overlooked, but they can be invaluable when offering this sort of support.
Understanding The Role Of An Accountant
Your accountant can help you fulfil the statutory responsibilities of your business. This includes dealing with tax and other regulatory issues. They can also play a role in processing the daily transactions of your business, such as managing the purchase ledger or processing invoices.
These roles are important – in terms of your legal responsibilities, your accountant can ensure you don’t get fines or penalties. They can also make sure you pay the right amount of tax as well as ensuring your business runs efficiently.
But an accountant can also play key roles in strategy development and advice. They can help you plan for future expansion, decide on investment options, and give advice on everything from launching new products, to moving premises, to forecasting the impact of reducing or increasing staffing levels.
What Can Your Accountant Do?
Here are the things that your accountant can do for your business:
- Prepare your annual accounts
- Deal with tax returns, VAT and other statutory requirements
- Prepare budgets
- Prepare management accounts
- Give advice on investments
- Give advice on loans and funding options
- Deal with banks
- Prepare cash flow forecasts
- Give advice on cost cutting measures your business can take
Working With An Accountant
To get the best out of your accountant, you should follow these tips:
- Choose an accountant with the skills and resources that your business needs
- Choose an accountant that you get on with
- Make sure your accountant understands your expectations, and the objectives of your business
- Communicate regularly and ask questions when you need to
- Ask for advice when you are taking key decisions in your business, such as changing a major supplier, or getting a loan from the bank
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity when your accountant is talking about something that you don’t fully understand
- Put good systems in place so that your business keeps good records of all financial transactions
- Get your accountant to prepare management accounts – it is easier to take good decisions when those decisions are based on accurate facts and information
- Review the cost base of your business with your accountant regularly to see if there are areas that you can improve
Your relationship with your accountant will be at its most efficient when they are dealing with the financial and regulatory requirements of your business, as well as acting in an advisory role. Your accountant will give you a clean and unbiased opinion based on experience and knowledge that will help you make better decisions, and ultimately improve your business.