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Getting the most from your Accountant

Many business owners simply see their accountant as a cost and someone to whom they send a bag of paperwork at the end of their financial year – some even refer to them as the “necessary evil”! Whilst this may suit some business owners, those with growth ambitions should consider their accountant as an investment. One that, like any other, needs attention in order to maximise a return.

Accountants are not simply there to keep a business compliant. They can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience, which if taken advantage of, can position your business for significant growth and success.

Here are 5 ways that you, as a business owner, can get the most from your accountant:

1)    Exploit their network. Successful accountants tend to have a large professional network, full of valuable contacts. ‘It’s not what you know’ is an old cliché, but it does have some truth. Ask yourself ‘who does my accountant know who can benefit my business?’ Then ask for an introduction.

2)    Don’t be a stranger. Your accountant will struggle to help your business if they only see your figures once a year. Be proactive in providing information. Forewarned, after all, is forearmed.  And whilst good at anticipating things, even the most clairvoyant accountant would be hard pushed to be aware of seminal events – for example, large capital sales or investments. The more information your accountant has, the more likely they are to be able to add value.

3)    Honesty is the best policy. Remember, accountants are there to help. Whether their focus is to support the maximisation of profit or to minimise tax, hiding information from your accountant could result in serious consequences in the long run.

4)    Ask for advice. With the breadth and depth of experience that many accountants have, asking them for advice could be a wise idea. If you accountant is unable or unwilling to offer more than simple transactional support, consider engaging a new firm. Taking advantage of the experience that your accountant has could help turn their ‘cost’ into an investment.

5)    Consider them as part of your management team. Your accountant has a vested interest in supporting your business to succeed; it ultimately means business for them! Using your accountant in conjunction with your finance director for example could give you more time to drive the business forward without having to sacrifice financial control and compliance.

By taking a proactive approach to your relationship with your accountant, and considering them as an investment as opposed to a cost, you can realise significant benefits to your business growth ambitions.

Credit to Tectona Partnership for this article