A good accountant is a vital asset to your business, but are you getting the most out of them? If you’re prepared to dedicate a little more time to them, your accountant can be so much more than someone to do your tax returns.
Here are 7 ways to make sure you are maximising your accountant’s potential:
1. Put in the effort at your end
It’s important that you do everything you can to keep your accounts in shape. Make sure all your records and receipts are kept in order. This will mean that, when your accountant comes to visit, they won’t have to spend hours sorting through your records, and will have more time to spend on making sure that your business is efficient. You should have a system in place – ideally accounting software – for keeping track of all your income and expenditure, making it easy for you and your accountant to get a grip on your financial situation straight away. Some accounting software allows your accountant to log in remotely, saving time spent on emailing and visiting back and forth if there’s something else they need from you.
2. Ask them for help
Your accountant will have worked with other businesses before, probably in your sector, and will have a wealth of valuable experience to draw on. Discuss your goals and objectives with them, and they will be able to offer you insights and practical advice to help you achieve them. Even if your query doesn’t appear to be immediately related to accounting, you may be surprised by the help your accountant can provide if you just ask.
3. Involve them in your plans
You probably already know that a failure to plan for the long term can be disastrous for a business. You should always plan in advance for what may go wrong, and what strategy you will adapt to prevent this and steer your business in the right direction. Your accountant can help you with this, providing another perspective and an awareness of the issues that can arise within a business as it grows. They can help you to develop your strategy and reassure you that you’re on the right track.
4. Keep in touch regularly
The more your accountant knows about the day-to-day goings-on of your business, the more they can do for you. Make sure you keep them up to date if you are thinking of taking on new staff, investing in new equipment, changing your sales techniques or making any other significant changes. Their insight could save you from making a decision that could damage your business, and they may have ideas of their own about the best way forward.
5. Make use of their networks
As someone who works with multiple businesses in your area, your accountant will have a strong network. Ask them if they have any contacts that would be useful to you: think potential clients, suppliers and other resources.
6. Learn as you go along
Don’t simply hand over your accounts and leave them to it – take the opportunity to learn valuable new skills that can help you in the day-to-day running of your business. Ask them about what they’re doing, and if there’s something you don’t understand ask them to explain it. Making the most of their expertise can help you to understand your business better.
7. Treat them well!
Obviously, it is important to maintain a good professional relationship with your accountant. You should treat them as you would expect to be treated with professionalism and courtesy. Stick to any deadlines they give you, give them all the information they ask for promptly and in good order, and be honest with them. And of course, pay them on time! The bottom line is, the more you communicate with your accountant, the more value they can add to your business. Make the most of the insights they offer and you can reap the benefits of your business.