In addition to tax compliance, a business’s accountant can provide significant, additional value to your small business. To make the most of your accounting firm’s services, here are 5 recommendations for small business owners to keep in mind.
1. Speak with your accountant often to ensure they know your business, its complexities and the biggest challenges you face.
The frequency of your meetings will largely depend on which services you have your accountant perform (for example, closing your books monthly would necessitate frequent interactions), but a good starting point is to meet with your accountant at least once per quarter.
2. Prepare questions for your accountant in advance.
Think of questions regarding inventory management, potential capital investments, financing, how to compare your company to peer companies, etc. Then, send these questions over to your accountant early, so they can prepare answers. Otherwise, part of your paid session will include reading over questions.
3. Draw on your accountant’s operational wisdom.
Oftentimes, accountants work with many business clients at once, and that gives them exorbitant experience in running a company. Benefit from that experience, and ask about best practices in your (and related) industries. Part of this review can include the adequacy of your internal controls.
4. Seek technological and information management consultation.
Many electronic bookkeeping systems or add-ons have excellent reporting abilities, allowing you to access information quickly. Ask what financial reports the accountant recommends you review and how to generate that report.
Your accountant may also have tips on how to better manage your company’s financial information. While everyone recognizes a shoebox is an inadequate database, your accountant might have specific advice about storing and transcribing data. If you can present data to them more effectively, it could result in fewer billable hours.
5. Ask for high-quality referrals.
Accountants oftentimes work alongside lawyers, bankers and other professionals that could prove beneficial in your network. See who your accountant recommends.
CPAs and accountants that are just beginning to offer advisory services: download this whitepaper, “Beginner’s Guide to Providing Business Advisory Services.”
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