With tax season around the corner, small business owners are already stressing about their books. In fact, 40 percent of small business owners said dealing with bookkeeping and taxes are the worst parts of owning a company. This is where working with a forward-thinking accountant can help ease the pain.
Even though there are many software tools available for business owners to complete their taxes, these tools don’t necessarily help business owners understand the meaning behind the numbers fueling the business. Working with an accountant on a collaborative cloud-based system provides business owners with a clearer understanding of accounting, but more importantly, it helps them better manage their businesses.
Here are three ways small business owners can best work with accountants to maximize their chances of success.
Find a Proactive Accountant
Surprises are not always a good thing, especially when it comes to finances. That’s why it’s important to seek an accountant who uses cloud-based accounting software. A cloud-based system is critical because it allows accountants and business owners to share, update, and view data in real time. Accountants who use the cloud are more likely to proactively give advice on financial opportunities and risks for the business in a timely manner.
Accountants using cloud-based solutions can offer strategic advisory services at a fixed rate, which minimizes the risk of billing surprises. As such, small business owners should ask potential accountants how much they charge for these consultations. If an accountant only includes write-up work and tax prep on their rate cards, chances are that’s all they’ll provide.
Work with Accountants Beyond the Tax Season
The best accountants serve as business partners. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t consider their accountants as a contracted, one-time business vendor, but rather as a strategic partner. With smarter, cloud-based accounting solutions, accountants can become virtual CFOs and provide entrepreneurs with a holistic view of their company’s financial health - all at a fraction of the cost it would require to employ a full-time CFO.
When an accountant works with a small business beyond just tax prep, they can help small business owners make and keep more money, and offer actionable insight on topics like cash flow, tax deductions, revenue projections, and budgeting. This gives business owners a constant, updated view of the company’s financial health.
Develop a Business Plan
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 50 percent of small businesses survive their first five years. While many business owners have a vision of where their company is headed, not many have a fully baked plan. Given how difficult it can be for a small business to thrive, it’s important for companies to map out a path to success. A proactive accountant can help a small business owner create a plan that incorporates potential new revenue streams and minimizes unnecessary costs that the small business owner may not have considered.
Choosing the right accountant, working with them as strategic partners and developing a clear business plan can set small business owners up for success. Businesses that work with an accountant who utilizes cloud-based solutions are more likely to have a better understanding of the numbers behind their company. By having a clearer picture of the company’s financial health, managing day-to-day operations becomes easier, and growing a profitable business becomes less daunting.