What should you expect from your accountants?

Research shows that 82% of business owners want more support from their accountants.  But there is a significant void between the end of year advice, which is months out of date, and strategic advice planning for the future, offered by a few but not all accountants.

The events of the past few years have led many business owners to review all areas of their business performance, including finance and cash flow.  But what is surprising though is that how few businesses have received pro-active up-front advice, support and guidance from their Accountants at a time when it has been most needed.

The question ‘Has your Accountant left you to cope on your own for the last 2-3 years’ was tabled at a recent Business Exposure Group meeting.

Below are some of the points raised during the meeting by our members.

  1. The biggest driver for advice is tax mitigation.
  1. Some Accountants talk about managing risk and setting up holding company structures to de-risk the valuable parts of your business should the trading side fall into difficulties.
  1. R&D Tax Credits and Capital Allowance claims should be on the agenda for all regular meetings with Accountants.
  1. A firm of say four partners with 20-30 support staff will add increased value.They can benchmark you against others in your industry.They can advise on appropriate KPI’s to make you understand your business inefficiencies. They can advise you on the impact of new contracts wins on the cash flow of your business. They are well connected with banks and can prepare funding reports in bank ready formats which attract a more serious consideration of your application.
  1. How to extract cash from the business in a tax efficient way using EIS and SEIS and VCT investments.
  1. The need to have a pre year-end meeting to discuss the suppression of profits and possible pension contributions in order to potentially wipe out your corporation tax bill.
  1. Whether quarterly or annual accounting is best for a growing business.

What was clear from the vast majority of business owners at the meetings was that accepting poor service because the bill is cheap is no longer a viable alternative.  To build a relationship with your Accountant towards them acting as a periodic part time FD is crucial to assist building and running a business.  Talking to your Accountant at a regular pre-set meeting about your ideas and concerns is time and money well spent to give you extra confidence when dealing with the challenges of everyday business.

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