Accountancy is the language of business. If you can speak that language, you can learn a lot about how your business is performing by setting everything out clearly and in precise numbers.
In order to have those accurate figures to hand, you’ll need a good accountant. However, many SME’s simply use their accountant to ensure they meet their legal obligations and pay their taxes on time. This is actually a terrible under-use of what could be a great resource for your business.
A good accountant can be a business advisor, networker and teacher; and they should be a port of call whenever you are seeking to arrange finance for your business.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Accountant
Some accountants just provide a bookkeeping service – but it shouldn’t be too hard to find one who is also a business adviser – whether officially or not! This is a worthwhile investment, especially if you are not one of those business owners who takes naturally to numbers.
Time spent with your accountant is a chance for you to learn the language of business. Have them explain the figures to you. Get to grips with the software they use – many programs now have advanced tools that can be used to analyse performance and manage a business. If that kind of thing seems boring to you, then you of all people need to learn this. There is gold in them numbers.
An experienced accountant is an excellent source of business advice – whether it be a small matter or a major decision on expansion. Even if you haven’t got any specific changes in mind, you should regularly tap into their expertise by asking where they see room for improvement.
TIM has previously looked at the power of a 1% change to vastly improve your business.
Your accountant is ideally placed to help you find those weak areas where these small changes can easily be made – and the areas where small increments will have the biggest impact on the bottom line.
Can you get rid of your business overdraft, or find a cheaper alternative to that loan? Again, your accountant can help.
Tap Into Your Accountant’s Networks
A decent small business accountant will have their finger on the pulse of local affairs – they will know about contracts coming up, and other firms which need new suppliers. They are therefore the perfect networking partner for you and your business.
Stay in touch, even when you’re not in need of any immediate bookkeeping, and make sure they understand your ambitions and needs. As others do the same, the accountant will be happy to be a matchmaker for businesses they respect.
Advice on Business Financing
Accountants will probably tell you that they don’t provide financial advice. Well, financial advisers are fond of saying that too! What your accountant will be able to do is help you work out your precise financing needs, and consider the real costs of the various forms of financing which are available.
One thing they will probably want to look at carefully is your cash flow. Are late payments putting your business in danger? Can invoice financing improve the profitability of your business by bringing forward your cash flow from unpaid invoices?
The answer to all these questions and more lies in the numbers. You just need help learning the language of business, and then you will be able to make the right decisions, with all the information at your fingertips..