By David Tattersall

If you are considering hiring an accountant for your business, you may be forgiven for thinking their role is limited to keeping track of your incomings and outgoings and preparing your end-of-year accounts. In reality, however, a good accountant will do much more than crunch numbers and ensure your business keeps up with its  obligations. In fact, chosen well, an accountant can add a huge amount of value to your company.

Helping You Balance the Books

Although it is true that an accountant will be able to help you with more than just your company’s day-to-day finances, this is still an extremely important role that they can play for your business. Having an experienced accountant on board can be extremely beneficial when it comes to setting a workable budget and ensuring your cash flow remains at a healthy and sustainable level. A good accountant will ensure this is done by minimizing your outgoings, reducing your tax liabilities, while also making sure your money is working as hard for you as possible.

However, an accountant can not only assist you with your business in the here and now, they can also help you look forward and plan for the future no matter where that may take you and your business.

Growing Your Existing Company

When it comes to growing your business, having your accountant on board at the early stages can make all the difference. An accountant will be able to advise whether an expansion project is right for your company, and if so, will determine the best way of putting these plans into action in order to maximize the chance of success. They can advise you on how to time the proposed expansion, give you recommendations when it comes to securing additional property, vehicles, or machinery, and advice when it comes to obtaining any finance which may be needed to accelerate the project.

Your accountant knows your business and knows what its figures are capable of sustaining. Whether you are considering taking on additional members of staff, moving to larger premises, or thinking about scaling up your business operations, an accountant will be able to provide you with impartial and unbiased advice unclouded by the emotional attachment that those closer to the business may have. Even if it is not necessarily what you want to hear, take their advice on board and remember it is in your accountant’s best interests to ensure your business remains a successful and profitable operation.

Planning a New Business

At the early stages of a business venture, the input of an experienced accountant can be invaluable. From how to fund a new business, how to prepare a realistic business plan, through whether you should operate as a sole trader or incorporate as a limited company, an accountant can be there to provide you with sound advice and guidance. They can make you aware of common pitfalls, and try to safeguard you as much as possible from the mistakes small business start-ups often make. Advice at this early stage can help ensure your business is well thought out and built on the most solid foundations possible.

Strategizing If the Business Takes a Turn for the Worse

In times of trouble, your accountant should be one of the first people you speak to. Being close to your company’s numbers, they should be able to tell you whether your issues can be overcome with some slight cost cutting, or whether you need to take further specialist advice in order to implement a more formal recovery plan. It is likely that an experienced accountant will have built up his or her own network of professional contacts, including solicitors and insolvency practitioners. These contacts could provide you with the specialist help and advice you need should your business encounter financial or legal difficulties at any point.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Accountant

If you don’t feel as though you are receiving this type of service from your current accountant, you should expect and demand more. After all, you are paying for the service so you should make sure you’re getting value for money.

A trustworthy and reliable accountant is an extremely useful person to have on your team, but it is something you will need to work at in order to get the best from it. It’s important to view the relationship between yourself and your accountant as a collaborative one; the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Be pro-active; don’t just wait for your annual meeting to talk to them, seek out their advice and listen to it. Planning ahead can make all the difference to your company getting to where you want it to. If your accountant knows your aims and ambitions, they can work alongside you to maximize your chance of getting there.