Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Relationship With Your Accountant?
Good financial management is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business, but for many entrepreneurs, money management is not something they are well-versed in. For those who are not financial whizzes, an accountant takes on a very important role within the company.
Because of the importance of financial management, your relationship with your accountant needs to be one that is founded on trust and clear communication. After all, your accountant is the one who is supposed to be keeping your business compliant with the IRS. But, if you are a new business owner in search of your first accountant, how can you tell if the accountant you are considering is really on the same page as your business? Here are a few tips to help you find out.
5 Questions to Ask Your Accountant
While the job responsibilities of an accountant are similar across the board, not all accountants are the same. Therefore, you will want to ask your accountant the following questions to help you decide if the individual is right for your business.
- What is your education?
- What are your certifications?
- Have you previously worked in my industry?
- Are you familiar with the industry’s specific tax and reporting requirements? (if applicable)
- What types of services do you provide that my business may benefit from?
Working With Your Accountant Once You Hire One
After you choose and hire your accountant, it is important to keep yourself updated on the company’s finances. Accountants can come and go, so should your accountant decide to leave after six months, you need to know where your company stands financially.
When working with your accountant, request that he provide you with data that shows how your company is performing against industry benchmarks. If your company is performing below average, ask where the company is losing money and how the leak can be fixed.
Your accountant should also provide you with a detailed breakdown of your products and services so you can easily identify which ones are the most profitable, and which ones are costing you more that they are worth.
Remember, a good accountant is a part of your team and he is there to do more than just provide you with figures and data. Take advantage of his experience and ask his advice before making investments or applying for small-business loans.
Overall, your accountant should feel partly responsible for your business’s financial health, and go above and beyond the call of duty to help ensure that it is as profitable as possible. On the other hand, if your accountant is not giving you the personal attention you need, or he is not performing the way you would like, then he may not be on the same page as you and the time to change accountants may be now.