As an accountant, I’m probably a little biased here but if you are a small business owner show your accountant some love this valentine’s day!
Now, I’m not suggesting for a second that you date your accountant – even if we are amazing! What I’m saying is its time to inject some time and effort into getting the most out of the relationship you have with your accountant. Forget waiting for ‘tax time’, do it now! Your accountant should be your closest confidant and your biggest ally in business. Sadly, more often than not we only hear from you once a year for your traditionally ‘tax return booty call’…did that just take the analogy too far?
Too many small business owners have an on-again-off-again relationship with their advisors, especially their accountant. According to research conducted by Xero 65% of failed business owners believe their downfall was due to poor financial management. Not a lack of marketing, the fact they were uncomfortable trying to sell or their difficulty finding good staff. The downfall was good old fashioned cash-flow. Who do you turn to for help with cashflow? Your Accountant! So, a strong relationship with your accountant can mean the difference between success and complete failure in the business world.
The path to a productive experience starts with building a foundation for a long-term relationship rather than settling for a once-a-year fling. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of the relationship with your accountant:
Get yourself organised
Don’t walk into a meeting with your accountant with scraps of paper and faded receipts. You will save time, money and get better advice if you take the time to organise your records. There are some great software applications (e.g. Xero and Receipt Bank) available that can make this process as painless as possible!
Workout what you want
Do you just need someone to lodge your tax return? Or do you want someone familiar with your industry that can help you build the business? Do some homework, talk to your network and reach out to local business associations to determine the kinds of services and expertise you really need. Once you know what you need, be clear with your accountant so they know what you expect and can build a service package suited to your specific needs. This concept extends to being clear about what you want to achieve in the business. If you accountant understands where you want to go they are better placed to help you get there.
Collaborate in real time
Your accountant needs access to accurate, timely information to help you and your business. Even if you don’t need a regular check-in with your accountant make the transfer of information as seamless as possible when it comes time to collaborate. Online data-sharing tools make working together easy, no matter where you or your accountant is located. Many online accountant platforms (Xero included) enable accountants to access client accounts on-the-go. These tools can also help us analyse your business data and ensure you are prepare for the future.
Your Accountant shouldn’t be the last to know
If you’re planning to make a big purchase or make a large investment don’t wait until the last minute to call us…or even worse tell us about it after you’ve already signed the contracts. Your accountant has a good working knowledge of your business as well as your long-term business goals. They can help you assess whether the decision is in your best interests and help to ensure everything is finalised in the most tax effective way possible.
We eat enough chocolate, the best gift you can give is a referral
Finally, remember that your accountant is also a business owner. If you’re happy with them and their work recommend them to people in your social circle and business network. It’s a great way to show your accountant that you support their business as much as they support yours.
Looking for an accountant to start a great relationship with? Lets Chat!