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Is Your Accountant Helping or Hurting Your Business

You may not realize this but in many ways, your accountant is like a trusted therapist. The more you tell him or her what's bothering you, the more they are able to assist you. Although every company is unique, the issues and problems that your organization is grappling with are often the same ones your accountant's other clients are also trying to resolve. It’s likely that your accountant is advising his other clients on similar challenges, and thus he’s in perfect position to help you as well.

Here's a quick list of some of the things an accountant could and should be doing for you.

1) Implementing an appropriate and cost effective accounting software system. Quickbooks is one example of easy to use accounting software that allows your accountant to access your data and create financial statements and tax documents faster and cheaper. Once you are set up with such a system, your accountant is basically running on auto pilot and not having to bother you with sending him a lot of data and documentation.

2) Making sure your accounting procedures comply with government regulations and requirements. Trust accounts are one of the biggest areas of risk in a collection entity. It is imperative to keep the monies of your debtors and creditors separate, tightly monitored, and properly recorded.

3) Explaining your financial statements and tax returns so you can understand the details of your business. Most business owners are great at schmoozing with potential clients, selling their services, and building a business. What they often lack is an interest in the minutiae of the company’s finances. When your accountant can take all that detail and give you the highlights in plain language, that will keep you engaged and help you identify and solve the problems the numbers represent.

4) Help you with creating a business plan. The reality is that most small businesses never sit down to create a business plan. Instead they hobble along from year to year trying to do the same thing. If your accountant can help you to set up and organize your business plan, it will create a helpful road map to guide your company during the next year and beyond.

5) Introducing others who can help. Sometimes accountants tend to try to do everything themselves and refrain from introducing other consultants for fear that they will lose control over their client. But there are times when another specialist can greatly assist the client. The accountant who introduces you to that specialist will add value to the existing relationship and make the accountant your “go to person” when something is needed.

6) Handling matters with the IRS. No matter how hard we try to get all the documents and payments in on time, things will occasionally slip through the cracks and all of sudden you have a notification from the IRS that something doesn’t add up. When these IRS issues linger, they can quickly snow ball out of control with interest and penalties. Whatever the problem, it will give you real peace of mind to have an accountant who can take immediate action to resolve an IRS issue.

These are just some of the ways accountants can work with small business owners. Like a therapist, they need to know where you think you need help, and that can be the start of a very productive long term relationship.

Thomas W. Hamilton more


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