By Dean Bassal

Small businesses aim to be successful and grow eventually. With the right support and the right advice, particularly from the professionals they engage with, this can be a reality. There are some professional services that should be utilized fully by a small to medium enterprise, but unfortunately, this is often not the case.

Companies are signposted to business gurus, peer mentors, entrepreneurial blogs and networks, which are all very relevant sources of information. However, business owners often do not fully appreciate this group of professionals who can also offer much more than just keeping the books on track. Accountants are key people to helping a small business grow and be proactive. With that in mind, what sort of service should you be expecting from your accountant?

Provides Business Start-Up Advice

Accountants experienced in business accounting and taxation have seen many companies start up and developed in a number of different sectors. A good accountant will aim to get to know the small business owner and their business plans. They are a very valuable source of advice for the business.

Discussing the business plan linked to budgets, planned growth and financial forecasting should be part of the initial conversation. The accountant will be the “critical” friend that can advise on key financial risks and will be able to spot opportunities as well as pitfalls during the start up process. Even if the business has been operating for some time, and ready to move onto the next phase, an accountant can offer a financial health check to ensure the owner has got everything in place. They will also have up to date information on new funding sources or tax incentives for small to medium enterprises that can give some much-needed boost for that next growth phase.

Finds Opportunities to Boost Key Areas of the Business

Accountants have a lot of experience monitoring other people’s cash flow, and spotting opportunities to make money work harder for the individual or the business. Tap into all this experience to get impartial and practical advice that will improve cash flow and the profit margin. An accountant can produce regular cashflow forecasts so that whatever plans a small enterprise has for growth, these can be funded, and the business is steered clear of financial difficulties and pitfalls.

A tax accountant is particularly essential to minimize the company’s tax payment. They should be advising the small business about which entity to buy assets in, which is a very complex area. Also, they are specialists when it comes to putting in place the right financial structures. This will reduce the bill of paying the taxman and free up some money to invest in the company, helping it to grow.

Frees Up Time Better Spent Growing the Company

An accountant can streamline your company’s accounting process. As well as ensuring the business keeps on top of the cash flow, they can also put preparation in place for the new tax year ahead. Accountants are the experts when it comes to deadlines and the ATO, so that relevant paperwork and documentations will be submitted on time and correctly.

Small businesses will be the experts in the products and/or services they produce or deliver. The same goes for an accountant. They will keep track of taxation and accounting obligations, payroll tax, stamp duty, GST and capital gains tax, which takes the burden off the business owner.

This not only cuts out the chance of a late fee payment but frees the small business owner from the worry and stress of the end of year return. It also frees up time to concentrate on developing brand loyalty, searching out new sources of revenue, gives planning and strategy time to the owners to move the company into the next phase of its development. 

Benchmarks the Company

A small business is up against a lot of other competitors who want a share in the market as well. In order to boost their profile, they need to understand their consumer base and know who else they are up against in order to work on their unique selling point or USP. An experienced accountant who has worked in a number of sectors not only will get to know each of their clients and their business well, but will also have a good idea of where the company sits in the marketplace. Some accountants will offer a business review as part of their customer service package so that a small company can benchmark themselves.

A Proactive Accountant Equals a Proactive Business

A company does not grow, or even get off the ground, without being proactive and the same goes for an accountant. The accountant who wants to see the business grow, invests the same amount of energy as the owner but will focus on looking beyond the figures. They will look to recommend critical cash flow management practices, and long-term investments. It is this sort of thinking that puts the small business into the big league.

An accountant is not just for the end of the tax year but for life. If your company is ready to take the next step, make sure you have the right accountant on your home team.