Getting the most from your AccountantFriday, 20th August 2021
It’s a common misconception that your accountant just does the books, meets financial year-end deadlines and that’s about it.
However, these are only the basics. As a small business, your accountant can offer so much more than this. They are worth their weight in gold if you work with them efficiently.
They can be a valuable business partner who offers expert advice, saves you money and helps you grow.
The key is understanding how to get the most out of your accountant to not let a valuable resource go to waste. Here are five ways to get started:
1. Find the right one!
You wouldn’t hire an employee without exploring their experience, culture fit or references. Finding your accountant is no different.
Arrange a call or a coffee so you can assess what value they can bring to your business. You want someone who not only understands your industry but has worked with small businesses, ideally in your sector, too.
Referrals are a great start. It could be from another business owner or one of your business partners such as your lawyer or marketing agency. A good idea is to look for one that will be able to work with you as your business grows.
Conversely, don’t be afraid to end your accountant relationship if it’s no longer working. Have your business needs have changed? Do you want someone with more sector-specific knowledge? Or simply, is the rapport not there? This is a key relationship-building trust and a strong, open dialogue are important.
2. Leverage their networks
A good accountant will have a strong network, some of which may be of help to you and your business. It could be legal advice, banking or marketing support – or even new business leads. If they are working in your industry, they should introduce you to similar businesses that you may want to get to know.
Don’t be afraid to ask them who they know and how they can plug you into their network. Your accountant is a valuable resource that’s there to be used.
3. It’s good to talk
Don’t limit your contact with your accountant to the end of the financial year. Set up a quarterly meeting or call, or even better, a monthly check-in if you think you’d benefit from it.
This allows your accountant to get to know you and your business better, enabling them to spot trends and opportunities. They can then make strategic recommendations or point you to products, services or people that can help. It can be pretty lonely building a business. Having the ability to bounce thoughts and ideas off a trusted partner with business acumen and sector knowledge can be helpful. It’s not always about talking about the accounts.
4. Help them to help you
You want your accountant to spend the least amount of time necessary on the nuts and bolts of work. Leave them free to consider your business in the round, offering advice, recommendations and introductions. So, get organised! Figure out exactly what kind of information they will need from you and if you aren’t sure, ask. Not only does this make their work extremely efficient, but it will also cost you less in the long run.
Don’t make your accountant have to chase paperwork or ask for documents to be amended. You’re wasting valuable time – yours and theirs. Make sure you give them your full business picture as well. Sharing half-truths about your business will waste everyone’s time. Those issues you have kept from them will be unearthed eventually and will need fixing.
5. Dual access to your cloud accounting software
Using a quality cloud accounting software platform like Xero is a terrific business decision. Give your accountant the ability to view and analyse real-time data from your company whenever they need. This will massively increase the efficiency of the accountant/ business relationship.
Your accountant should have full access to your accounting software platform. This means they can provide better advice, make strategic recommendations and alert you to problems that arise, such as challenges with your cash flow.
Cloud accounting platforms also connect to several products and services that can support your business. An invoice financing partner like Hydr, which are proud partners of Xero, make paying your invoices within 24 hours seamless. When it comes to optimising your cash flow, you and your accountant will always be on the same page.
Are you looking for an invoice financing partner? Find out if Hydr is right for you