The problem with only speaking to your accountant when you pick up your tax return

As a business owner, when was the last time you spoke to your accountant? If it was the day you picked up your tax return in March, your relationship with your accountant is a lost opportunity.

Historically, accountants are publicly perceived as the ‘tax guy’ or auditors & only consulted when there is a serious problem, i.e. unpaid taxes or financial bankruptcy. Your accountant can influence directly & indirectly the success & direction of your business. Like the relationship with a banker or attorney, the relationship with an accountant is long-term & can provide support with decision making & support during tough times.

Have you done tax planning for this year?

If you only see your accountant during tax season (generally February – April), you are losing out on tax planning opportunities. Tax saving options after the close of the year are limited & have time constraints. On the other hand, if you are planning in March for the current year, plans will be based on forecast & projection. If actual results differ from projections, tax results will differ. No business owner ever wants to find out after the tax return is complete that they had a more profitable year than expected & now have a whopping balance due. At a minimum, business owners should have a mid-year tax review with their accountant. A quarterly meeting is optimal. Periodic meetings can be used to anticipate results variances & provide options for changes.

Does your business have an annual business plan?

Your accountant can provide more value than simply preparing a tax return. The annual business planning is a great way to partner with your accountant & utilize their expertise. An accountant can help you develop a revenue plan based on your business product or service. Their experience in a specific industry or revenue models can provide insight into how to build the foundational plan for your business. What do you need to charge to per product or service to meet revenue goals? An accountant can help you with a pricing structure. Will you be profitable with the current revenue plan? If you need to analyze your profitability, it’s a perfect time to sit with your accountant & review the results. A solid revenue plan will be the backbone of future marketing plans and all other business plans for the year. Your accountants experience can help you develop unbiased options to all your business plans.

Cashflow is getting tight & I don’t know why?

Many business owners have difficulties with cashflow. They are unclear about when money is coming in & what it is going out for. A careful review of cashflow operations (invoicing, collection & payments) by an accountant can expose process breakdown & provide recommendations for improvement. A small process adjustment in the invoicing & collection process could make a world of difference in projecting cash inflow. Pricing can also be a cause of cashflow issues. Are you charging the right price for your product or service? A review of operations & costs with your accountant could reveal the business isn’t charging enough? Accountants can help you review costs & develop new pricing structures which will lead to improved profitability.

Your accountant can truly become a trusted business advisor. Accountants can help businesses plan, review results & act on them with process & business adjustments. If your accountant relationship is only utilized once a year for preparing a tax return, your business is missing out on guided support & growth from an experienced professional. Seek out your accountant & trusted business advisor & work with them to strengthen your business.

If your accountant doesn’t offer planning services we can help. You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can work with you from anywhere. With real-time cloud accounting access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.

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