7 Ways An Accountant Can Help You Reach Your Goals

by | Jan 15, 2018

“You can’t be the accountant in your accounting firm. You can’t cut the grass in your landscaping business. You can’t work on the vehicles in your auto repair shop… And you really can’t spend all of your time managing those actions, either.”

Michael E. Gerber

Last month’s blog was all about goal setting and achieving goals.  I believe business owners are much more likely to achieve their goals if they have a good accountant who can work with them.

When running a business, it is quite tempting to cut down on costs by managing the finances yourself.  Most business owners do this and sooner or later they realize that it’s a false economy.  Financial aspects of a business can be complicated and they require a dedicated person to handle them.  It needs just one person whose sole job is to manage, record and give advice to the business owner about finances.  An accountant can be a guardian angel – an adviser and strategic consultant all rolled into one.

In what ways can an accountant help?

A good accountant will be able to:

1. Manage expenses

They help owners keep an eye on all the outgoings.

An accountant can support you by easily identifying potential deductions throughout the year and by advising you how to make strategic decisions for year-end deductions.  Many business owners forget to track and account for items like depreciation, out-of-pocket expenses and home office space.  It is useful to have an accountant so that you can check with them whether an item is allowable or not.

2. Cut down costs

Accountants are aware of the best legal loop holes from which businesses can benefit immensely – cutting down their costs and minimising their tax bill.  From year-end accounts to tax returns, they are also skilled at advising businesses on the best ways to save large amounts of money. Also, having an accountant means you hit deadlines and don’t incur fines.

3. Provide professional advice

A good business accountant does much more than just keeping records. Knowing your business’s finances, they can offer you valuable advice in an unbiased and objective way.  An accountant can serve as a significant asset for start-ups and small business owners by offering the right financial advice that can help you stay in business for the long term.

It’s all too easy to think of accountants as really only  acting on behalf of a business at period ends and during tax return season.  But accountants are a vital source of information and advice for making critical business decisions on a weekly, even daily basis.  As they are removed from the day-to-day running of the business, they can offer a new perspective based on the bigger picture, giving guidance on applying for business loans, providing solutions to problems or even new business ideas.

Having an accountant as your financial advisor to help you with budgeting and monitoring cash flow on a steady basis, will allow you to achieve your business goals.

Also, there are always changes to regulations and accountants have to keep up with these changes because it’s their job.  This means you can rely on them to prompt you when laws change.

The types of questions you should be able to ask your accountant are:

  • When there is a new business expense – is this allowable?
  • What is the most tax efficient way of buying a car and should I put it through the business?
  • Would it be beneficial to change my status from sole trader to a limited company?
  • Should I be VAT registered? If so, can you register me?
  • Should I use a Cloud accounting package, as I have more transactions, debtors and creditors now?
  • Can you help me set up a budget?
  • When do I pay Corporation Tax?
  • What happens if my director’s loan is overdrawn?

4. Save you time (and stress!)

Look at all the things an accountant can help you accomplish, and then look at your duties and the time constraints.  You need to dedicate your time to developing your products and services, gaining new clients and improving your profits.

Even if you feel that you have a good handle on the financial paperwork, or have accounting software in place, it still takes time to calculate and file your financial information.  An accountant will make sure all financial information is visible, organised and accessible.  This provides the foundation for better data analysis, to forecast income, prepare for losses, and plan strategically for the future.

With an accountant to take care of financial matters, you will have more time to focus on other aspects of your business and to grow your business, knowing that deadlines have been met.

5. Help you to grow

An accountant can act as a valuable sounding board; having someone to brainstorm with, independent of the business, makes all the difference.  He or she knows your business almost as well as you do – and probably knows the financial side of it even better.  By assisting you to make decisions, they can help you to grow your business.

6. Remove worry

Lots of businesses find their finances overwhelming.  Many small businesses will have never come across all of the paperwork and terminology of business accounts before.  The complexity of the task in hand – and the importance of deadlines – can cause many people to worry.  An accountant can ease this burden by helping you to organise your business and know the timing of deadlines.

7. Plan for the future

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of hiring an accountant is getting advice on how to plan for the future.  Together, you can decide on your approach to achieving your business goals.  Also, you can both calculate the potential consequences and implications of buying a large item or hiring more employees.

I have detailed here the 7 ways an accountant can help you to reach your goals, but in practice how can you guarantee that this will all run smoothly?  I believe the key to success is to choose your accountant wisely.

Meet up with them and ask them various questions:

  • How will they communicate with you and how often?
  • Will they give you regular updates on progress?
  • Will they give you free email/telephone support or will you be charged?
  • Can you understand them? Will they give you straight-forward, jargon-free advice?
  • Are you going to be happy talking to them if things aren’t going well in your business?
  • Are you going to be happy working with them and making decisions together?

It is crucial to have a good relationship with your accountant and for them to be on your side.  That’s when you’ll see real results as a business owner!

I have been working with Adrianne Carter of D-Coded Insights Limited for 4 months and am helping her to achieve her business goals.  Working together has resulted in the business finances being more organised.  Also, she has greater clarity about where the business is now and where she wants to go.

Conclusion

When you consider all of the benefits that come from having an accountant, the question is less about whether you can afford one and more about whether you can afford not to use an accountant.

As a business owner, you are most often preoccupied with the day-to-day operations of running your business.  However, an accountant can take a step back and objectively look at the big picture to find the best way to support the longevity of your business.

“People are accustomed to thinking of accounting as dry and boring, a necessary evil used primarily to prepare financial reports and survive audits, but that is because accounting is something that has become taken for granted.”

Eric Ries

The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

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About Anna Goodwin

With over 30 years’ experience in delivering an exceptional accountancy service, and more than 12 years of being in business herself, Anna Goodwin knows small businesses, how they work and also the highs and lows that come with self-employment. It’s hard work but also immensely satisfying and this has inspired her to enable more of you amazing people out there to succeed at what you do!

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