Are you getting the Accounting Services that you need, asks James Richardson.

Most business owners quickly realise that they will need the help of an accountant to help manage their business’ financial affairs. But not all business owners are clear what Accounting Services their accountant could (in fact, should) provide. Here’s how you could get better value for money.

What Accounting Services should my small business accountant be providing?

We believe that accountants have 4 clear roles to fulfil for their clients. If your accountant is not ticking each of these boxes, it’s time to ask some hard questions.

The 4 essential Accounting Services every accountant should offer:

1.       The Basics – meeting the compliance requirements

Small Businesses need the assistance of qualified accountants to ensure that they meet their legal and tax obligations.

I have previously blogged about Small Business’ basic compliance requirements here . Make sure you’re comfortable with what your responsibilities are and what work your accountant is undertaking for you.

Many small business owners think that this is all their accountant should be doing to help their company, but a great accountant will go 1, 2, 3 steps further. That’s right. There are three further Accounting Services that your accountant should be providing…….

2.       Cutting edge tax advice

Let’s be clear – Tax is a cost like any other. So, how can you ensure that you only pay the tax that you should pay?

Well, for a start, you’ll want an Accountant that meets you before the end of your company’s year end – to ensure that Tax Planning Opportunities aren’t missed. If you leave it until after your company’s  year end, it’s too late.

You’ll also want an Accountant that specialises in limited companies. After all, if an accountant looks after a mixed bag of sole traders, partnerships and charities as well as companies, it’s understandable that they will struggle to stay at the cutting edge of tax developments. Choose an accountant that specialises in limited companies in your local area to ensure you receive the best service.

Choose an accountant that understands local businesses’ needs. For instance, in London there is a huge growth in the number of companies investing in Technology R&D (Research and Development). At metric, we’re amazed at the number of accountants who fail to advise their clients about the R&D Tax Breaks offered to companies that choose to invest in Technology. As a result, many exciting and promising companies are missing out on Tax Giveaways worth thousands of pounds.

3.       Advice to help GROW your business

If you’re serious about growing your business, you’ll want advice to ensure your business is able to grow as fast as you can sensibly manage.

A great accountant will not only be interested in looking backwards at the historic financial results, they will also be firmly focussed on the next 12-24 months (and beyond).

If your accountant is not regularly asking questions about your business plans, marketing strategy, expected staffing changes (or “headcount”), fundraising requirements and cashflow, how can they truly help you grow the business?

For example, for every single Metric Accountants’ client we hold a Year Ahead meeting, specifically designed to ensure we understand our client’s aims for the next 12 months and help assess how they can get there.

4.       Contacts and networks

Business owners often have a lack of peers to discuss business opportunities and are often faced with new and unusual challenges.

Fortunately, accountants regularly come into contact with business owners facing exactly the same issues. What’s more, they have (or should have) built up a network of trusted professionals who can support small businesses to overcome those issues and grow their business successfully.

Great accountants proactively share their experience and connections to help their clients.

So, there are the four ways in which accountants should be meeting your business needs. If your accountant is not ticking each of these boxes, it’s time to ask some hard questions (or pick up the phone and speak to us).

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