There is a lot of talk about the changing face of accounting practices and what services accountants should be providing to their clients. Today, I wanted to put together a useful article to illustrate to people exactly what it is their accountant should be doing for them.
As I started to think about it, I realised that your accountant should STILL be doing for you, exactly what they always should have been doing for you.
The only thing that has changed is the ‘How’.
Technology has given accountants tools to provide services in a more streamlined and efficient way – making the ‘How’ we do things very different to the ‘How’ in the past. The services accountants provide to their clients are the most important and always have been.
This is probably the one you know the most about. Your accountant should be working for you to ensure your structure, business and personal affairs are set up in such a way to minimise tax. This includes taking the time to explain to you what can and can’t be claimed as an expense and what must be declared as income. Then they should provide you with timely and accurate estimates of the tax you need to pay throughout the year.
Your accountant should be helping you build your business plan. Whilst the financial content of such a plan is imperative – depending on your business, ideally this is more than just a financial document.
Technology has brought a massive change to how we do our business. It impacts our banking, our supplier liaison, our customer liaison, our market channels, our IR liaison. Your accountant should be aware of the changes in these key areas of your business and be able to either help you make significant operating system and process changes, or be able to direct you to the expert in that area of business you are looking to improve on. Your accountant should be able to liaise with these system integrators on your behalf to ensure that changes being implemented will achieve your desired outcomes.
Your accountant should understand your business and how it functions, inside and out. Ideally, they would have been to the epi-centre of your operations and might even know some of your staff. They should know the industry you operate in. They should do this, so that when you are faced with a tricky business decision, you can go to your accountant and know that they understand your business and your industry and they can help you make that decision more easily.
Your accountant should be able to translate your financial data into terms that you understand. They should be able to provide business and business management education to you, whether you are a start-up or a seasoned business owner dealing with your first multinational customer.
Providing these services makes your accountant a key, trusted advisor who is integral to the growth of your business.