Choosing a Proactive Business Accountant
Choosing the right accountant (a proactive business accountant) is one of the most important decisions a business can make. A good one can save you time and help your business grow; a bad one could cost you much needed money.
93% of business owners indicated they want a proactive business accountant [MYOB Business Survey#], someone that will discuss with them their business, where they can improve, tax minimisation strategies, reaching their personal financial goals, taking the business to the next level or even assist them to create more free time.
However, the vast majority of business owners pick cheap, “see you once a year”, Accountants.
Importantly, not all accountants are the same and it doesn’t have to be this way. The first step in reaching your goals is partnering with professionals that understand what you want to achieve and can help you get there.
There are specialist Small/Medium Business Accountants out there, and you should choose one that:
- Has a professional qualification/designation (preferably CA or CPA).
- Utilises online SME accounting software such as Xero or MYOB.
- Takes the time to understand your business and may even have a specialisation in that industry.
- Has a track record of looking after small business clients (maybe you were referred to them or they have client testimonials supporting their expertise).
- They returns phone calls and emails promptly during the year.
- You can meet with them face to face if that is important to you.
- Is organised and has support staff. You need to know that when they are on holidays, you still have a point of contact.
- Talks in a language you understand. An Accountant’s job is not to confuse you or prove how smart they are, but to make complex business and tax matters as simple as possible.
- Someone that understands you, your plans and goals…. And preferably has a sense of humour/gets along with you. After all, you will be working together for a while.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your accountant is a Small Business expert:
- They provide business checklists to help you collate your tax information (rather basic requirement, but annoying if they don’t)?
- They have a year-end meeting to discuss your business performance each year as a minimum? They have discussed items like growth compared to last year, key expenses, break-even points, cashflow and budgets?
- They responded promptly to tax advice/business queries during the year?
- They offer more regular business coaching or meetings if you require it? We highly recommend you consider additional advice, it may surprise you what they know and can help you with.
- They offer Tax Planning/Minimisation meetings prior to the end of the year?
- A newsletter/regular communication is provided free of charge with general business information?
- They offer monthly fixed fee payment plans to smooth your business cashflow requirements? Small/Medium businesses pay many other bills monthly, accounting fees should be no different.
A good accountant will help you reach your business goals…. Whether that is more money, more time or more control. After all, a NAB Survey indicated that Accountants are business owners most trusted advisor… so make sure you are picking one that will help you achieve your goals.
Remember, like almost everything in this world, you get what you pay for. Choosing a cheap/basic accountant could be your most expensive mistake you make as a Small Business owner.
* Source: NAB Processional Services [ Key insights into The Australian Accounting Industry]
# Source: MYOB Business Survey June 2015