How’s your relationship with your accountant for your small business?
A good relationship with your accountant can mean that you effectively have another partner.
Getting the best out of your accountant can really save you significant amounts of time and money. Plus, using their network and people ‘in the know’ means you can plug in a great range of complementary services.
1. Finding the right fit
We speak at length about this in some of our previous blogs (links below to read on), but it fundamentally comes down to fit.
If your business is very far removed from the type of work your accountant usually takes on, a good accountant should be honest, and recommend a better suited firm from their network.
The accounting community is small, and we do talk, so better off for us to recommend you to someone with the right sort of service you’re looking for.
When you are looking for an accountant, be sure to make sure you have the right service selection for your business.
This is important to understand what you are getting from them, especially when comparing prices.
Read more in our two blogs in more detail, below:
We cover all you should expect from a meeting with your accountant.
And here we cover all of the things you should look out for when you’re on the hunt for your first, or a new, accounts advisor.
2. Use their network
Need someone to look over your contracts? Give you some investment advice? Or perhaps be introduced to a business that might be able to share some similar experiences with you?
The best accountants for small business can do just that by referring you to a specialist. They understand that referrals are priceless to small business owners.
Tapping into their local network can help you build a superstar team of businesses to support your long term growth.
3. Don’t be afraid to seek some business advice
Chances are, a good relationship with your accountant can stray beyond pure numbers. Talking more holistically around your business, the direction, growth and opportunities can really help you drive things forward.
If you want to run an idea past them, an objective view can be useful (and of course, it’s up to you if you take it on board!).
Their understanding of tax, registration, PAYE and business ownership can help frame some questions. And if you need more insight, a referral onto a specific expert (like above) can be sorted for you.
If you hold accounting updates or management account meetings with them monthly, or quarterly, having this check in can help them advise the best route for future meetings too.
It could be cost control, employee questions, or to explore sales growth opportunities.
4. Meet often
If your accountant is technically savvy they will use all the tech: Phone, WhatsApp, In person, Facebook messenger, Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Whatsapp video, Facetime, LinkedIn messenger, Instagram DMs, Carrier Pigeon…
The options to stay in touch now are endless, so there’s no reason your meetings with your accountant need to just be once a year.
Meeting frequently means they can see your decisions evolve, progress and work through them together.
5. Agree a list of info, and timing for what’s needed
We get it, you’re busy, and so when you’re in the throes of exciting daily business, doing the round up of what happened, rather than what’s to come can feel like a pain.
Having the conversation about when is the best time to nail down all of the final numbers for the month just gone, can help you both out.
Best way to manage it?
Doing it little and often can help this not seem like such a mammoth task. We have a saying in the office, ‘do your frog job’.
This relates to a proverb around eating a frog, but essentially means – do the thing you least want to do first. If this is rounding up your receipts, try to do it first thing, often and in small chunks!
Also make it easier for yourself.
Can you automate some bills?
Set your receipt app up to fetch regular spends?
Chat to your accountant or book-keeper about this.
6. Get their insider knowledge
Perhaps asking your accountant if other clients have experienced the same issues you might be experiencing can help you feel more reassured. They may have some thoughts on the matter from what they’ve seen from similar business situations (using anonymous examples unless the client or contact has given their permission of course!).
Even better, if they hold networking events or can connect you to other local businesses, you can build your own network of entrepreneurs. Who said you ever were really going solo, running a business?
7. Use them as your sense checker
The best relationship with your accountant is when they can offer you the toolkit you need to take your business to the next level.
If you’d like to ask us about any of the above, then get in touch.