We’ve talked previously with the accountants out there about how they can become much more valuable to their clients. They’re going to be taking on an expanded role in their clients’ lives as a financial consultant as opposed to being purely a tax-time number-cruncher.
On the flip side, the business owners out there should be looking at their accountants as valuable tools that let them have a much clearer picture of their financial layout.
Whether you’re the accountant or the business owner, one of the key ingredients in getting the most out of the client-accountant relationship is the regularly scheduled meeting. If you’re new to these meetings and you’re not sure what you should be discussing, try integrating the following points to get the most out of your time together.
Is the business going to be able to cover its taxes? If not, is there money that can be shifted around to cover it in order to avoid penalties? If money is shifted, where does spending have to slow down in the next month in order to make up the difference?
Is there money left over?
If the business is showing a surplus, what should the business be putting the money toward in order to enable expansion? What would bring in more income immediately versus something that would be “nice to have”?
How much money do you actually have?
Do you business owners out there actually know how much cash you have? Do you know how much is going out versus how much is going in? Do you know if you have a surplus or are you dying a slow death to cash leaks? Do you have a goal to hit of profits over revenues and if so, are you hitting it?
Are you weak on collections?
You might figure you’re building rapport with clients by letting them slide a month or two on their dues. That might be true. But you’re likely going to be surprised by just how much you’re shortchanging and possibly even truly hurting your business by not sending your bills out on time and collecting on them.
Your accountant will be able to give you a clear picture of how much you’re losing per month by not collecting on those payments and what you could be building if you had that cash on hand.
How is your pricing?
Are you charging the optimal price for your goods and services? Your accountant can help you figure out how much (for example) you can increase a particular price before the number of lost clients outweighs the increase in income. Use your accountant as a tool to help you continuously tweak your prices until you’re getting the most your market will bear.
Are you on top of your bills?
Your accountant will be able to help you prioritise bills so that you’re always on top of the ones that need to be paid immediately versus ones that allow you to hang onto some cash a while longer.
Are you gaining on your goals?
Your ultimate purpose (aside from going bankrupt of course) in these meetings is to chip away at your goals. (If you don’t have any goals, use your accountant to set some, both long-term and smaller monthly milestones).
Believe it or not, this last point makes these weekly meetings with your accountant something you’re going to look forward to. With every meeting you’re going to gain a clearer picture of where you currently are and what you have to do to improve your financial situation. Your accountant is one of the most important allies you’ll have in growing your business, so make sure you use them to your fullest advantage.