Your accountant provides you with an important service, saving you time and money. As you’ve probably noticed, maintaining good relationships with the people you do business with is essential, and your accountant is no exception. A little extra effort and consideration on your part can enable your accountant to do their best for you, reaping big rewards for your business.
This is probably the most important thing you can do to make your accountant’s job easier. You should keep all your receipts, bank statements and other source documents, and make sure that they are in reasonable order. A year’s worth of receipts thrown into a plastic bag is going to be a headache for your accountant, and mean that it takes them far longer than it should to do their job. Keep everything filed neatly and logically, and write notes on receipts and bank statements to explain what the money was used for – this can be particularly useful for things like travel and dining expenses. A well organized and up to date Google calendar can also help you to keep evidence of what you are spending money on and when.
In running your business you will have certain aspirations and goals. Share these with your accountant so that they can advise you on how best to reach them, and keep them in mind when planning your financial strategy. You should also regularly update them on any changes to your financial situation, or any plans that might be costly such as office renovations. Having a regular meeting – for example monthly or quarterly – to discuss the business can be more efficient than saving everything until the end of the tax year, when it may be too late to deal with unseen problems that have become entrenched over the last 12 months. If you inform them immediately of any concerns you have, the chances are that they can quickly deal with something that would have taken you days.
You should always tell your accountant the truth about every aspect of your company’s finances, from income to tax information. If you don’t, you risk mistakes and potential legal consequences for your company. Being honest also means admitting when you don’t understand something. Your accountant knows that you aren’t an expert in all things finance-related; that’s why you hired them after all! If they use a term that you don’t understand, ask a question instead of just smiling and nodding – they will be happy to explain. Life is easier for everyone if you both know what you are talking about.
Remember that, although your accountant should and will be giving you the best service they possibly can, you are not their only client. Just as you would be frustrated by one customer taking up all of your time, so will they. If you are well prepared for your meetings, have your figures ready and know what questions you want to ask, the time you spend together will be efficient and valuable for you both, and your accountant will appreciate it. You should of course also remember to pay them on time – trust is an important part of any business relationship, and if you don’t pay them, they may have the right to withhold your figures until payment is made.
A little effort goes a long way. Keeping your accountant happy will ensure that you make the most out of the money you pay them, and that your business’s finances are looked after as efficiently as possible.
Ruth Davies writes for Juniper Accountancy, who specialize in helping small businesses to make the most of their money. With a passion for finance and new media, Ruth keeps her ear to the ground to keep small business owners up to date with the latest developments in our changing industry.