Unlimited Magazine recently ran an opinion piece on how to get more from your accountant. It’s more or less right on the money so we’re producing it in full:
If you’ve got a great accountant, they might be underappreciated. Many business owners’ relationship with their accountant is little more than a once a year transaction that gets the books done.
But this approach doesn’t make the most of a partnership that could be one of your strongest assets. Building a good relationship with your accountant can give you access to the skills, connections and knowledge you need to keep your business growing.
Here are four tips to make it happen.
1. Don’t think of your accountant as just a human calculator
Some business owners may only include their accountant in those parts of the business that involve the financials. Understanding that your accountant can also be a useful business advisor means taking the time to discuss wider issues such as your business goals, what your competitors are doing and which parts of the business you are struggling with.
2. Solicit their advice
Being a small business owner can be daunting because a lot of the job involves figuring things out for yourself. However, your accountant likely works with hundreds of other businesses and will have a huge amount of experience to draw on. Let your accountant know their input is valuable to you and that they are free to suggest ideas, improvements and new ways of doing things.
3. Take advantage of their knowlege of your industry
Your accountant’s work with businesses in the same game as you can give a different perspective and show you how others have dealt with the same issues and challenges you face. Getting input from someone who has worked with your competitors gives you new insight into the best practice for your industry, the places your competitors may have gone wrong and how you can improve on their systems and approaches.
4. Know their network
Your accountant’s wide networks don’t just mean a good understanding of business issues, they also mean access to people who might have other skills, expertise, or insights you need. If you think of your accountant as someone who can facilitate useful networking, they may open doors you might not have known about otherwise.