A professional accountant can be a great ally for busy small business owners. They’re more than just expert number crunchers—they could help your business achieve its financial goals, however big or small they may be. Having a strong relationship with an accountant can help you adopt appropriate strategies for growing and protecting your small business.
Here are seven topics you might consider discussing with your accountant.
If you’ve been working closely with an accountant for some time, they already have good insight into your current financial position and capacity. These details can help them advise you regarding future business plans.
Your accountant can help you understand how expanding your small business may affect its valuation and tax obligations. Factors that may impact your small business’ financial position include:
- Moving to a new location – A new location may change your liabilities and assets, particularly if you are purchasing the premises. However, leasing a new property can also change your financial position.
- Hiring more staff – Employing a larger staff may affect your tax bracket and superannuation obligations.
- Merging with or acquiring another company – Your current business structure may need to be reassessed to ensure you have the correct and most beneficial setup in place.
Managing your inventory is important if your business sells or resells goods. An accountant can keep you up to date on applicable sales tax rules and regulations, which can change often. Beyond this, your accountant can help advise you on:
- The processes you have in place for ordering and restocking to maximise your cash flow.
- How to account for and track unsold inventory each financial year.
- How to correctly calculate and collect sales tax.
3. Risk management
An accountant may also help you create a risk management plan. As your small business grows and changes, you might want policies and other forms of protection in place if the unexpected happens. While your accountant can provide strategies to help keep you financially sound, they might also advise on:
- Meeting compliance, security and privacy regulations required by businesses or your industry
- Ways to protect yourself against potential fraud
- Internal safety measures and policies to protect your business against different types of risk
Insurance policies you might consider, such as public liability, professional indemnity, and other forms of coverage.
4. Financial planning
A professional accountant may be able to help you with more than just business-as-usual money management. There may be areas beyond the day-to-day that could impact your small business’ future. Your accountant might offer strategies on:
- Improving your cash flow through strategic decision making
- Retirement plans and wealth management strategies
- Preparing your finances for a lending application
- Major investments, charities, and gifting that may be in the pipeline
5. Tax laws and rules
It can be hard to keep up with the ever-changing tax rules and regulations in Australia. However, an accountant can help you review relevant changes and how they impact your business. Your accountant could help you:
- Feel confident that the processes you have in place follow and comply with regulations
- Understand new laws or changes to regulations that impact your business
- Run an internal review to find red flags that could trigger a tax audit
6. Ways to help improve revenue
Because they have an intimate understanding of your financial position, an accountant may be able to suggest solutions to increase your overall revenue. To help your business grow, your accountant may assist you in areas such as:
- Customer retention – Keeping existing customers can help your business establish a stronger long-term financial position.
- Gaining new customers – Repeat business is important, but continually finding new customers can help you grow.
- Increasing sale totals – Cross-selling and up-selling help you earn more per customer.
- Pricing strategy – You may need to adjust your pricing each year, but it’s also essential to understand how discounts and promotions could increase your bottom line.
7. Accounting basics
While an accountant can help you with many areas of your small business, there are ways you can help make their job easier and your business better. Good accounting habits in your day-to-day operations could help you keep your books in order.
Your accountant may be able to help you by:
- Recommending user-friendly accounting software to help you manage your finances. This can make it easier to share your book with them, especially at tax time.
- Recommending a system for creating and storing digital copies of your receipts, bank statements, and other financial documents.
- Keeping in touch throughout the year. As you can see by now, an accountant could be a valuable asset all year long!
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