Business owners must ask more of their accountants in tough times
October 17, 2011 – RSM Bird Cameron, one of the largest mid-tier accounting firms in Australia, says business owners must ask more of their accountants in tough times.
Andrew Graham, national head of business solutions, RSM Bird Cameron, said, “It is easy to have accountants for many years that do the basics well – but not fully realise the value they should be offering beyond that. Or sometimes a business simply outgrows their existing accountant in terms of what they need and what can be offered.
“The depth of experience your accountant has, and the advice they can give, is vital to the success of your business, and should be a resource you can call on. This is particularly important as many businesses face an uncertain economic future.
“Most accountants provide basic retrospective analysis on the numbers given to them, coupled with some compliance, tax and super advice. The best accountants offer real practical business advice on how to effectively operate, manage and grow the business.”
RSM Bird Cameron has developed this simple test to help business owners assess the value their accountants offer them. Does your accountant:
- take time to understand your personal goals, needs and ambitions and actively work with you to achieve them
- take the time to understand the dynamics of your business and industry rather than just look at the numbers?
- identify opportunities for your business’ growth and improvement?
- provide ideas on how to make those opportunities work?
- help you identify your vision for the future of your business, your personal goals and the steps to get you there?
- create a regularly updated action plan to achieve those goals?
- agree on all fees and payment terms up front?
- help you understand the profitability of each product or service offered by your business?
- provide feedback and new ideas on marketing and advertising to generate better a return on investment?
- help you address any management and human resource issues, such as tax, payroll and superannuation questions or concerns?
- build key performance indicators specific to your business?
- help you understand what drives cash in your business?
- create plans to maximise cash flow?
- proactively monitor progress on a monthly basis so you can adjust quickly to maximise profits?
- help you establish business management systems so you have clearer picture of your operations?
- help you find ways to work ‘on’ your business rather than in it so you can realise a better quality of life?
- work to constantly increase your financial rewards and provide for a well-funded retirement?
- help you implement strategies for the future to make your business a more valuable and realisable asset by sale or succession?
“Having access to reliable and sensible advice could mean the difference between a business that thrives and a business that just gets by. If your accountant isn’t contributing to the success of your business it may time to look at other options.
“Ultimately you should be able to call on your accountant as a trusted adviser to help you make your business the best it can be,” Graham said.