The end of the financial year is a busy time for many business owners, however spending a bit of extra time now with your accountant or bookkeeper can pay real dividends in the year ahead. As well as sorting out your books and taxes, your accountant can also provide help in the long-term planning of your business – and the start of a new financial year is the best time to think about this.
The MYOB Business Monitor consistently shows that business owners trust their accountant to provide not just information on compliance and legislation, but also – crucially – advice on how to improve business performance.
To be as effective as possible, it’s important that your accountant has a high level of understanding of your business.
BUILD A RELATIONSHIP
Many business owners don’t make the most of the services offered by their accountant. Instead they feel that popping in once or twice a year to manage their compliance requirements is all that is needed.
Unfortunately they are missing out on the benefits of building a relationship with their accountant, to work closely together and get the most out of what they can offer.
As the new financial year starts, it’s a great time to re-evaluate your relationship with your accountant. Make an appointment to sit down with them and see what insights they have about your business, including reflecting on what has happened over the last 12 months and planning for the year ahead.
WORK AS A TEAM
Now is the perfect time to plan out how you want the next 12 months to flow for your business and your accountant can help you review the past 12 months to utilise what went well and learn from what didn’t. With your accountant you can map out what you would like to achieve and the journey to get there.
This will build a strong foundation for the year ahead. You’ll have all the figures showing how your business performed and you can really set out what you want to achieve or change for the next year. Get your accountant to set up a benchmarking assessment of your business. What do they know about how your business compares to other similar businesses – including your competition? What do they think you could do differently to make significant improvements?
Your accountant can only make a difference to your business if you commit to working with them and using their skills. So make regular times to catch up and create a set of performance measures that you can both use to monitor progress.
To get the best from your accountant it’s important to work as a team. Make sure you have your data entry up to date and keep your bookkeeping and reporting clean and clear. You want your accountant or bookkeeper to be able to get down to work straight away rather than spending time understanding your books.
It’s also a good idea not to assume what your accountant needs to know about your business and this applies to your tax and business planning or improving business performance. Ask them for a list of items they need and then you’ll be able to provide it without spending time going back and forth. This way your accountant can sit down and know they have everything necessary in front of them for a comprehensive analysis.
If you don’t understand something …. ask. You aren’t going to benefit from the relationship if you don’t feel confident asking questions and understanding the direction your accountant is heading in. Working closely with your accountant or bookkeeper can have huge benefits, just ensure you are working together.