When it comes to your business, there are few working relationships that will be more important than the one you have with your accountant. It’s vital that you and your accountant are on the same page.
Here are some of the best tips we’ve found that help us keep things on an even keel with our clients.
Make sure you’re a good match
There are a number of things you should take into account (pun intended) when you’re choosing an accountant.
Think about where your business is. If you’re brand new, then maybe you want to look for an accountant specialising in start-ups. If you’re a bit more established and looking to grow, find someone who understands what’s needed to help with that growth. Similarly, find someone who understands your sector – they’ll already have a good understanding of the challenges you’re likely to face.
Choosing an accountant because they’ve been recommended by a colleague or mentor in a different industry or is in a different phase of their business life could be a recipe for disappointment, so do your due diligence.
Treat your accountant as an important part of the team
It’s all too easy to dismiss your accountant as an external part of your business. However, if you reframe that mindset and start thinking of them as an active part of the company, then you might have just uncovered an invaluable asset. The right accountant will be able to offer sound advice at every turn, leading to a more satisfying relationship for everyone involved.
Many business owners dread talking to their accountant, or assume that they’re giving everyone the same advice. That’s simply not the case – make the most of your accountant and you’re unlocking a treasure trove of knowledge!
Agree the basics early on
Your accountant may be able to help you in more areas of your business than you think. Start off on the right foot and set out a framework of how you want them to help you – you could agree on key things like: if and how they can help you with key decisions; helping you put your budget together; how they could help you save money; making sure your business is compliant in all the areas it needs to be.
Remember, at the end of the day, the buck stops with you as the business-owner, so get all the support and advice you can from every available source!
Make sure you meet your deadlines
With the previous point in mind, an accountant can only get you so far in terms of meeting your obligations. There are certain deadlines you’ll have to meet throughout the year and whilst it’s your accountant’s responsibilty to keep you abreast of filing deadlines etc, leaving it to the last minute to get yourself organised can cause problems, both in your working relationship with your accountant, and, in extreme cases, for the future of the business: if you incur late filing penalties that you can’t afford (for example), the business may not be able to continue.
Make sure you know what time frames you need to be operating within, and what lead time you should be allowing yourself.
If this is your first time running a business and it’s still relatively early days, then forecasting and planning may be a bit of an alien concept to you. Certainly, since Covid hit in 2020 it’s become even more important when it comes to predicting incomes, outgoings, and identifying potential problems.
Working with your accountant to plan for unseen scenarios and including contingencies within any plans and new initiatives could make the difference between your business growing or being stopped in its tracks.
Streamline your accounting processes
It doesn’t need to be difficult to manage your accounts in this day and age: accounting software and tech has made leaps and bounds since the days of painstakingly keeping receipts and doing your book-keeping by hand!
Are you running things as efficiently as you could? Talk to your accountant and see which systems they would recommend for you – a good accountant will be aware of and using the most up to date software, so get their advice about how to take the pain out of your accounts!