Business is getting more competitive by the day, and you cannot patiently wait for your accountant to look up from your tax return and ask you how things are going. A quarterly catch up appointment with your accountant will give you much deeper insights into your business.
Year after year, you have sat through meetings about your tax returns. Sometimes, it's under sufferance because you know what they're going to say. You get more from an annual tax planning meeting because at least there's an action list for tax to be saved and payments to be scheduled. But compliance matters leave you feeling pretty flat.
There is so much you could learn from an accountant about business, but it's like all you talk about together is tax. You'd rather work with ALL that the accountant has to offer... to help you run a better business!
Because you're so busy at the coalface, it's easy to miss what an accountant's experienced eye can see. You don't need them to have all the answers. Just showing an interest and asking you good questions would be welcomed. Let the conversation begin; reveal the problems and the solutions will follow.
You're lonely too. You can't confide in your employees about how the business is going, or your friends for that matter. Nor do you necessarily want to burden your spouse with business issues. Your accountant is the perfect confidant - they already know your business and your back story. What's more, you respect their professionalism, trust their confidentiality and appreciate that they're in business too.
Meet with your accountant quarterly, at appointments set 12 months in advance. Know that they'll look forward to it and will be interested in what you have to say.
What to expect:
- A standard agenda, with scope to vary and add items in the meeting.
- You'll be held to account about what you undertook since the last meeting.
- Tailored accounting reports to explain where your money went.
- Meaningful comparisons against budget and previous periods, with benchmark data to learn from as well.
- Expect two graphs that really matter, not 20 graphs of meaningless shapes and colours.
- Don't go straight to expenses. The conversation will begin around your revenue and gross margins - these are what help uncover the underlying issues that will determine your future.
- Questions about average sales and conversion rates. You've already mastered keeping accurate records - now you just need to systems to capture this data and provide a dashboard on how these revenue indicators are tracking.
- Your key drivers of profitability other than sales and revenue are considered. Questions about tracking and assessing those other profit drivers.
- Thinking ahead - advice about how you can make your business more saleable. Answering questions about cash-flow management, classifying customers, inventory turnover and employee incentive plans.
Back to budgets. Talk through an annual budgeting process. You will need a set of projections for expected profit and another for cashflow. While you're at it, consider the importance of managing your working capital.
What your accountant can do is incredibly valuable. So ask about service packages and which one would be most recommended to you. Ask to pay in monthly instalments.
Are you ready to ask your accountant what else they can do for you?