The truth is, a good accounting firm will offer a number of different accounting services that are included in what most people consider traditional accounting. You see, as an accountant, I get to see the core numbers for a business. I get to see where the business is bleeding cash, or missing out on revenue. I get to see which processes are working, and which aren’t. I get to look at businesses at the kind of granular level that most people don’t ever see. And because of that, I, as an accountant or as part of a team of accountants, can provide valuable advice to an owner or to a business’s management team.
What most people understand as additional services are, in fact, the core services for any good accounting team. What I am going to try to do here is give you an overview of what services are offered by an small business accountant.
Everybody knows that small business accountants do tax returns. That’s just common sense. But we do much more than that. You see, we do the tax returns for hundreds of businesses so we have to know the tax code, inside and out. We have know what’s changed, what’s in for a certain year and out the next. And, even more than that, we need to know how that affects your business. So if there is any coming change to the tax code, we know about it first and we can help you to plan accordingly.
Oftentimes we get clients that come on board and they’ve never had a proper accountant do their financials for them. And what we see a lot of the time is that they are missing out on valuable information about tax exemptions or tax breaks for their business that can even be the difference between the success and failure of the business. So that’s probably one of the key accounting services that we offer as accountants for small businesses, the ability to create a clear and effective tax strategy for you.
Debt planing, credit card management and debt reduction are other key areas where an accounting company can help a small business. One of the biggest challenges today for any small business is obtaining cost effective financing, and then managing that debt. The great advantage we have as accountants is that we have a working knowledge of most of the financing services that are available on the market, and we can help you choose the financing model that works best for your business.
For some clients one of the first things we do is advise them to adopt a debt restructuring strategy that drastically reduces their monthly payments to service their debt, which then frees up their cash flow.
We find that one of the biggest challenges for any many businesses today is managing their payroll, especially if the business has only recently started to take on employees. So that’s another key area that we get to provide consulting and advisory accounting services to small business. In fact, it’s probably a good thing to talk to your accountant before making any new hire, first to make sure that your business is in line with current employment legislation, and second, to make sure you take all the associated costs for a new hire into account when you are deciding on salaries and benefits.
Management consulting for small business includes all of the items above, but I think it’s important to mention it here again because it provides an important context for an experience that is common to most small business owners; they often struggle to find somebody to whom they can turn to when they need advice.
I speak personally when I say that one of the main reasons to hire an accountant (or an accounting firm in most cases) is that you have somebody who you can go to when you need advice. Most times when a business owner asks us for advice, we’ve seen a similar situation before at other business and we can provide him or her with relevant and practical advice based on what we’ve seen that works.
One final accounting service that an accounting team can offer that I think is important to mention is in business development and valuation. There comes a time for most business owners when they need to think about selling their business, either because they are reaching retirement, or because it’s part of their business plan and they are ready to move on to the next project.
Again, remember that your business won’t be the first business that we would have offered this service to, so we will know how and were to go to build your business’s value so that when it comes time to sell all or a part of it (maybe you are ready to take on a new partner) you have all the information you need.
In conclusion, along with the core accounting services we offer, accounting firms provide a number of key additional services that you as a business owner should take advantage of to stay financially organized, tax compliant and help your business to grow. You shouldn’t look at your accounting firm as merely an outsourcing cost for bookkeeping, but as a key business partner. It’s what we like best about being accountants here at The Accounting Team. we get to use our knowledge and our experience to help your business grow.
Erasmus Pretorius is a Chartered Accountant and CEO of The Accounting Team. He has been helping small business grow since 2001.