The best accountants can do much more than just tax and compliance work for your business. They’re trouble-shooters and strategic advisors for small businesses. Having an accountant means that you can operate your business with more clarity and confidence.
Whether you’re working to get a start-up off the ground, or taking the reins of an established business, you’ll see value from making an accountant part of your team. When you have the right accountant and a good relationship, you’ll see their influence impacting all the moving parts that make up your business.
Accountants can support you from start-up to business exit. Here’s a few tips from an article by Xero, with 10 things accountants can do to support your business and help you to achieve your goals:
10 things you didn’t know an accountant could do
Accountants do more than you think. They can give you strategic advice and come up with clever ways to save money or boost revenue. They’ll also remove or automate administrative tasks that distract you from your core business. Get an accountant and you’ll run your business with more clarity and confidence.
So what does an accountant do? The question is what don’t they do?
1. Launch a start-up
Starting a new business can be exhilarating, but it takes more than a good idea. You need to know it will make money – and you need to convince investors and lenders of the same thing. An accountant can do that for you.
They’ll help test your idea, identify your start-up and operating costs, and create credible revenue forecasts. They also know which lenders are playing ball at any one time, so you can approach the right people for finance. Plus they’ll work on your pitch, so you’re ready to impress those lenders.
2. Set up your cloud accounting software
Your accountant will automate a lot of your business’s accounting so that sales and expense data flows directly into your accounts. They’ll also set you up with invoicing systems that tell you what’s been paid and what hasn’t. Smart software will even send reminder emails to clients who haven’t paid so you don’t have to.
There are dozens of other automated systems they can implement for you, such as:
- cash flow dashboards, so you always know where you stand
- KPI tracking, so you can check overall business performance 24/7
- automated accounts payable, so you’re always on top of expenses
- mobile accounting apps that allow you to manage your finances from the road
3. Help with business strategy
There are so many moving parts in a business. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus. Accountants can help you figure out what’s important.
They’ll work with you to set goals – personal, professional and financial – then give you tools to measure your progress. You’ll end up with a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how your business is doing.
If you have an accounting software, your accountant will set up dashboards that allow you to check your KPIs at any time of the day or night. And if things aren’t going as planned, they’ll help you troubleshoot the issues, test solutions, and reset your KPIs as needed.
4. Help to budget smartly
Detailed budgeting can eat up a lot of your time and energy. As a result, many businesses end up working off a vague set of numbers that are full of assumptions and estimates. Your accountant can help you produce a rigorous, accurate budget that gives you real confidence. You’ll know the real cost of doing business. You’ll know how much money you can reinvest. And you’ll know what you can pay yourself.
5. Manage your debt
There’s good debt and bad debt. Your accountant can help you tell one from the other. They’ll find the least expensive borrowing strategies for your business – with the right mix of repayment flexibility and low interest. If you need refinancing, they’ll take care of that too.
Accountants will also advise when spare cash should be used to pay back loans, and when it should be reinvested in the business. They’ll do that by considering the numbers behind your business and looking at how your debt’s structured to develop a specific strategy for you. It’s not just blanket advice.
6. Fix your cash flow
Many profitable businesses fail because they run out of money at the wrong time and can’t afford to pay suppliers or staff. Even a highly active business won’t last long if payments are slow to come in, or expenditure is too high.
Accountants know that revenue ebbs and flows, and that costs do the same. They’ll help you predict the effect on cash flow and come up with strategies to manage the situation. They’ll organise cash reserves and come up with a spending plan that ensure there’s always money in the bank. It’ll make payday less stressful, supplier relations easier – and sleep deeper.
7. Write and pitch loan applications
Applying for a loan is both an art and a science. A good accountant will do more than just pull together your numbers. They can help you craft a compelling story.
Lenders obviously need to see solid financials and credible forecasts, but that’s just the beginning. An accountant will tie it all together in a presentation that sells the wider vision for your business. There won’t be any spreadsheets. You’ll be armed with graphs and charts that visualise the numbers – allowing your lender to literally see the opportunity. And they’ll use powerful forecasting tools that loan officers trust.
8. Help you manage stock
Do you spend a lot on storage, or lose money writing off obsolete or damaged goods? Or do you sometimes lose revenue because you run out of stock? Smart inventory management is critical to doing good business.
Your accountant will identify the cost of holding inventory and come up with strategies to save some of that money. Plus they’ll review your sales data to help predict stock needs, so you can place accurate orders. They can even set up software that tracks stock levels and auto-orders items as they run low.
9. Unlock the power of technology
Smart business software can automate a lot of the things you do manually. An accountant can take away those distractions by setting up affordable software for things like:
- staff scheduling and time recording
- point of sale
- taking payments
- customer relationship management
This is one of the most important things an accountant can do for you. Automating business processes takes away pain, lowers costs and ensures everything runs smoothly. Just make sure you find a tech-savvy accountant that knows about business apps.
10. Listen and support you
Being in business is tough. It can be lonely, too. When things seem too hard, and you start thinking about the cosy 9 to 5 you left behind, a top accountant can keep your head in the game.
They know how much your business means to you. They can reassure and reset you on your journey. And they’ll help you cope with stress by breaking down big business problems into manageable parts. Giving moral support is an important part of what accountants do.
So what does an accountant do? They make business better
You’ll be amazed at the difference a top accountant can make. They can bring a tonne of extra capability and insight into your business.
So what does an accountant do? Really, it’s whatever you need. Because if they can’t solve your business problem themselves, they’ll know who can.
Just remember that when looking for an accountant, consider more than their knowledge and skill. You should be able to have very frank conversations with them so find somebody you like. An accountant that’s easy to get on with and can do all of these things for you is out there.
We would love to help and support you on your business journey, no matter what stage you’re currently at. Please take a look at our Services Page to get an idea of what we can provide for your business. If you like what we can do, give us a call on 023 8000 1313 or visit our Contact Page and send us an enquiry. We can’t wait to hear from you!