Your interaction with your customers and your suppliers has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. With the constant introduction of new technology, combined with new channels for communication and interaction, it’s no wonder these relationships have shifted to suit the times.
How you work with your accountant is no different. The myriad methods for recording, communicating, and assessing financial data, whether personal or for a business, have changed the way you interact with your accountant.
How the accountant relationship has changed
The shift to an almost completely online system has probably had the biggest impact on how accountants and business owners work together.
Because many small business owners now conduct the central parts of their financial operations online, it can be easy to lose a close, daily connection with your accountant that can be crucial to your business.
Cloud-based systems are an excellent, efficient way to ensure your accounts are up-to-date, accurate, and easily communicated with your accountant.
Accounting and invoicing software allows you to create and send invoices online, receive and record payments, link your bank accounts, attach receipts, record expenses and invite your accountant to collaborate.
The accountant role
The benefits of this type of accounting software are clear and have improved the efficiency and accuracy of managing business accounts.
Not to mention reducing the amount of painkillers purchased to combat the headaches caused by the tedious experience of combing through individual transactions on an Excel spreadsheet.
However, it’s important that the relationship with your accountant doesn’t transition to completely online as well. An accountant should continue to take an active role in understanding your finances and maximising possible benefits.
You manage the day-to-day finances of your business. So what can an accountant do to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your business strategy and tax filing?
An accountant should take time daily to act as an advisor. This means keeping up on the latest trends in business, any changes in the industry or legislation, as well as any new software or tools that could be useful to you in running your business.
This knowledge should be applied to your unique business situation and all suggestions should be specially tailored to meet the needs or improve the situation of your company.
Tax is one of the main reasons businesses choose to hire a professional accountant. While their job is to ensure your finances are correct and in order, there are a number of other aspects to managing tax.
Your accountant should take time to go through the decisions you make in your business and explain how these affect your tax.
For example, the impact of buying versus leasing equipment or gear, the tax benefits of a car with low CO2 emissions, registering property as being owned by a company versus an individual, tax payable on a director’s loan account that has been overdrawn, and more.
By following through on theses tasks, your accountant can help you to make better, more informed decisions for your business when it comes to finance and tax.
To ensure you’re getting the most out of these tasks, an accountant should make an effort to be an active part of your business. This includes scheduling regular calls or meetings, replying promptly to emails, and being available to answer questions or offer their expertise.
It’s easy for accountants to take a back seat and simply connect and analyse your records once a year for tax purposes, but their knowledge is incredibly useful to your business and should be offered frequently.
It’s not hard to reply to an email, and while we all get busy and can forget to respond to that work email, you should expect a response from your accountant not in days, but within hours - remember, staying on top of your finances is their business.