Your accountant can sort out your tax return, your annual accounts or provide advice on a range of issues, but how do you get the best return on the fees you pay to an accountant?
An accountant can help in many different areas of your business and by following my tips below, it will help you get the most from this vital business relationship:
1. Choose Carefully
Look for accountants with experience of your type of business. Anyone can set up as ‘an accountant’, so look for chartered or certified accountants, whose qualified status is backed by membership of a professional body. A large firm suggests reliability, a smaller one may respond better to your needs and be more proactive on your behalf. Ask prospective accountants how they can help your business. Request references and proof they have professional indemnity insurance, before you make your final decision.
2. Ask Plenty of Questions
Check what other services your accountant can offer you. These could include guidance on setting up your business, preparation of financial forecasts, help with loan applications, audits, investment advice, and other suggestions for minimising your tax liability.
3. Be Clear about your Expectations
Your accountant will summarise terms and conditions in a letter of engagement. But make sure you put your expectations in writing, too. Describe the level of service you require, for example, how quickly you need queries to be answered. And ask to deal with a specific contact, to help build a close professional relationship.
4. Maintain User-friendly Records
If necessary, ask your accountant for their advice about how best to maintain your financial records. If your books are easier to read, you will save them time, which should mean a lower bill at the end of the day.
5. Communicate Regularly
By talking to your accountant on a regular basis this helps them to better understand your business, your needs, and will help you get the best possible value from the relationship. Make sure you schedule quarterly meetings (or phone / Skype calls) to review your firm’s performance, so you can better plan for the future and minimise the risk of avoidable cashflow or financial issues. A good accountant will provide proactive advice on financial planning and considerations that will help your business run smoother. Be sure to meet before producing your end-of-year accounts or tax return, this inevitably provides the opportunity for minimising tax liabilities by utilising all available allowances open to your business.
If you’re fed up of trying to make sense of numbers and financial spreadsheets, call In the Black on 01483 222858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We could make all the difference to your business.