Are You Getting the Most Value From Your Accountant?
Posted by Guest Author on August 28, 2013 in Financial Services [ 1 Comment ]
While speaking with your accountant may not be the most exciting part of running your small business, it can be one of the most useful. You just have to know how to get what you need from those conversations. In the days of automated tax software, the role of the accountant has expanded to more than just a robotic figure plugging numbers into forms. Take advantage of the many services your accountant offers which can help you improve and grow your business.
1. Business Advice
Your accountant knows your finances, and your finances are the key to your business’s health, so who better to offer your business guidance? To get the best advice, though, you need to know which questions to ask.
Instead of asking general questions such as “How can I improve?” or “What should I do differently?”, get specific. Detailed questions such as “Is my cost of goods sold reasonable for my industry? and “If it’s not reasonable, how can I reduce it?” are much more effective. Of course, in order to ask specific questions, you need to take the time to sit down with your accountant and carefully go over the numbers they’ve prepared, making sure you understand each line. Don’t assume you’ll understand everything if they just hand you a packet of papers – have them walk you through each line item and ask as many questions as you need.
2. Procedural Streamlining
Accountants can provide your business with a number of services that can make managing your finances smoother and simpler. In the same way that your accountant knows best how to categorize each item in your bookkeeping and can tell you which expenses are tax deductible and which aren’t, they also know best to manage your finances as efficiently as possible.
For instance, your accountant can help you with integrated online document submittal, eliminating the need for lots of hard copies of everything from loan applications to tax returns. They can make sure you submit all necessary electronic forms properly, and, if something goes wrong (or if you get audited), they can help you figure out the best way to solve the problem. Accountants can also guide you through the advantages of cloud computing and help you decide how best to store your financial information in a clutter-free way.
An often overlooked use of your accountant is for advice on how to get the money you need to operate your business. Your accountant can not only help you identify where you need a financial boost and how much funding you require, they can help you decide how best to secure that funding.
If it looks like your business needs cash, discuss with your accountant where it should come from. They can discuss with you debt versus equity financing and the various options for each, such as traditional versus alternative borrowing and the different styles of investors. They can also help you secure that financing by preparing the proper statements and materials you need to attract equity or apply for a loan.
Author Bio: Ked Harley is a writer and researcher for Biz2Credit Business Loans, a leading credit marketplace connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with small business loans , service providers, and complementary business tools. She is also a self-confessed coffee addict working out of New York City. Follow Biz2Credit on Twitter and Facebook for small business news and updates.
(Image: jannoon028 via freedigitalphotos.net)