Valentine’s Day may be long gone, but there’s more to a good relationship than wining and dining your loved one once a year. This kind of advice doesn’t just apply to your romantic attachments – having a good relationship with your accountant has more in common with dating than you might think.
If you’re a small business the chances are you can’t afford to have your own in house accountants. If you have the knowledge yourself it might be you don’t have time to apply it considering all the other tasks you’ll have to take care of.
If you decide to outsource accountancy services, there are some things you should know. Many businesses believe it to be a great way of letting someone else look after their accounts (and they would be right!), but it’s also vital to remember that just because you have someone else doing your accounts, it doesn’t mean you should get complacent.
Figuring Out If They Are the One
Before you choose an accountant, there’s a lot of research and background checks that you need to complete. Knowing exactly what you want from your accountant will be invaluable at this point. Generally if you have a price range in mind then you’ll be reducing your search by hours. If you have already decided between an online and a local accountant then you’ve reduced it by days!
You’ll know if an accountant is the one for your business if their way of working makes sense to you and if your expectations for the business are the same. That’s why it can be worth letting your accountant talk about what they think would be right for the business, and then revealing your own expectations.
Have the Same Goals
The key to a successful and long-term relationship is making sure you have the same long term goals. You want kids? Make sure they do too, or it’s bound to turn in a bad direction pretty quickly. Make sure your accountant knows what you want to achieve in your business, and most importantly, agrees that it is the right step to take in order to move your business forward.
Of course no accountant is going to deny you the right to expand your business, but if they advise against it for any kind of financial reason, you should listen to and abide by their advice. There are plenty of horror stories of businesses that have failed because of ignoring their accountants – make sure you don’t become one of them.
Don’t Get Lazy
A relationship that you’re not putting any effort into won’t be a happy one. If your heart isn’t in it, or you grow complacent, there’s really no point in having an accountant at all. Despite what you may have been told, your accountant isn’t just someone to file your tax returns at the end of the year. They are there to help you grow your business and their financial advice is something you should pay attention to.
Getting lazy could have massive repercussions for your business. You might miss an important deadline, and fork up a hefty fine to pacify HMRC for your behaviour. Or under worse circumstances, you might be subject to a HMRC investigation, which would be twice as much work as the amount you would have had to do in the first place!
Communication is Key
To keep a healthy relationship with your accountant, you should stay interested in your accounts. To get the most out of their services, you should make time to listen to their advice. If your accountant is trying to get in touch with you, leaving it until the last minute to get back to them won’t do your business any favours.
If there are any changes to your business plan, or in your personal circumstance that might affect how the business is run, however temporary, you should notify your accountant. If you’re paying for their services, it’s always better to check whether you should notify them, rather than feel like you’re wasting your time and learning that you could have saved yourself money on tax.
Ever forgotten an important anniversary and had to face the consequences? The same thing could happen if you don’t remember to file your self-assessment, or if you forget when your accounts are due. Don’t be subject to a HMRC investigation, and make a note in your calendar!
It’s not just upcoming deadlines that you should be keeping track of. Changes to regulations could mean serious alterations for your business. If you’re not sure of the ins and outs, speak to your accountant for some peace of mind.
Is your accountant The One? Or are you still holding out for something better? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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About The Author
We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!