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Your Accountant is More Than Just a Preparer of Tax Returns and Financial Statements

How often do most businesses talk to their accountant? Once a year? 5 times a year? Normally it’s one of these; once a year for the tax return and maybe 4 times a year for the BAS, depending on who does the BAS. Sure, accountants are great at these tasks and can help a business put in place a tax effective structure, which is where they’re adding value. But there’s more that your accountant can do for you, as mentioned in a good article that MYOB posted a while back: 6 Things Your Accountant Can do for you Beyond Compliance. In this article a few items are discussed that your accountant can do for you outside the usual compliance.

In a nutshell, they’re saying your accountant can do the following:

1. Benchmarking – comparing your business to others in the industry. I once had a client who almost purchased a supermarket. The figures looked great, excellent profit after add-backs, good price, good margin, the lot. However once we tested these numbers against industry averages the picture was very different. Basically we found that the business was performing far, far better than pretty well every supermarket in Australia based on margin. Why was it doing so well? Well, it wasn’t, the figures were inflated, so the client walked from the deal, potentially saving himself from bankruptcy in the process. Just an example of where benchmarking can help.

2. Risk Management – Accountants have seen most things go wrong in a business so are well placed to recognise risk factors particular to industries and business types.

3. Review costs – most businesses don’t have time to test the market for what they’re getting from their suppliers. It’s always a good time to check if your suppliers are giving you the best possible price and quality so you can in turn offer this to your customers

4. Pricing review – a lot of businesses leave their prices static for fear of losing customers. In truth most customers will pay the extra if they feel they’re getting value for money; if you don’t adjust your pricing to reflect the value you’re providing you’re de-valuing your own product.

5. Budgeting – not much fun and not an area of expertise for a lot of business owners. An extra set of eyes can assist with adding perspective for contingent costs and how realistic the budget is

6. Succession planning – another one that’s not fun, but it has to be planned for. The common phrase is ‘Go in with an exit strategy’. If you don’t have one then your accountant can help with the practicalities as well as making sure you get out in the most beneficial fashion.

Sure, if you’re lucky enough to have an internal accountant you can get these things done in-house, however if you don’t then your trusty accountant can do it. However this brings an additional issue. Your accountant is often too busy to perform this sort of work. This is exactly the line of work I’m in. I don’t do compliance work, but I can do everything above. It’s my area of expertise, I’ve done it for years and I’m not too bad at it!

Thanks for reading this article. Don’t forget to check back regularly for more updates and please feel free to contact me if you have any further queries, or suggestions for future articles. Please note – this article is merely the extremely biased opinion of the writer and does not constitute advice at all. If you are looking for advice on any news matter listed on this site please contact me and I would be happy to talk further.