As another tax year ends, many of you have probably been thinking “uh oh”, like me. There’s either lots of work to do yourself or there’s a cost to your business due to the necessary evil of accountancy services. For most businesses, of all sizes, accountants are an essential, whether for filing end of year tax returns, providing payroll support or assisting with VAT compliance.
I admit, accountancy isn’t a subject that sets my heart alight and certainly isn’t one you’d usually find on this site – I’m a words person dontchaknow – but I’ve recently been enlightened about just how much an accountant can help a small business like Hannes and how their services aren’t being utilised or recognised enough.
Therefore, I’ve invited accountancy and business adviser firm Adams Moore to share insight on how all company owners can be getting more from the services now provided by forward-thinking accountants.
View your accountant as your business adviser – an accountancy firm shouldn’t just be called upon once a business is set up or when the tax return needs filing. Getting your accountant involved at the outset of the business has infinite benefits. Not only does it help with ensuring the business is set up with the right structure, i.e. sole trader, limited company or limited liability partnership, but getting an objective view on the business plan, or help with the creation of it, will reap rewards. When seeking finance, a robust business plan is a must, so the work put in on this at the start is well worth it. An accountant can also advise on the right funding source for the business needs.
Utilise additional services to aid growth or diversification – many established businesses can reach a stage where they’re looking to take the business to the next level – but may either be too bogged down in the day-to-day running of the business to be strategic or creative or just not have the time to pursue growth opportunities. Using your accountant to assess the business, review goals or help with identifying potential opportunities that may not have yet been apparent can help breathe new life into the company. Similarly, there may be a requirement for extra support on time consuming business finance functions, such as the preparation of management accounts or budgets and forecasting. Some accountants now offer fixed-fee services so that business owners can enlist help for these types of activities without the worry of the meter running.
Get help with protection for the business – when working with new customers or suppliers, some business owners will take the precaution of conducting checks to ensure their financial stability. However, whilst this will help identify any current financial issues a business might have, it won’t help if that business runs into trouble in the future. Many accountancy firms now offer ongoing financial checks to ensure that any arising issues can be identified quickly and action taken before the business is impacted.
Reduce burdensome accounting tasks – generating invoices, recording and filing expenses and calculating business mileage are all boring but necessary tasks in business. Thankfully, many accountants offer accountancy software that can make light work of these tasks, automating where possible, such as in the generation of invoices for repeat customers. The latest software solutions available are sophisticated, completely digitising expenses with smartphone scanning of receipts, offering GPS apps to calculate business mileage and easy reconciliation of bank accounts. The beauty of this is that the end of year accounting doesn’t have to be a headache, as everything s recorded in one place ready for the accountant.
Whilst we appreciate that perceived cost of additional accountancy services can be a barrier to businesses pursuing the options, the benefits that can very quickly negate the cost. With the wide range of services to help businesses reach their goals, can they afford not to explore them?
Neil Lancaster is a partner at Tamworth-based accountancy and business adviser firm Adams Moore.