It’s no secret that I think that hiring an accountant is a smart investment for the majority of small businesses. That being said, it’s important to make sure you are taking advantage of all your accountant has to offer in order to make the investment worth your while.
Some accountants act as little more than a glorified calculator. They punch the numbers for you, but they don’t go much beyond that. In this sense, they save you time and headache from doing the calculating for you, but that’s where it ends.
Accountants can do much more than this for you if you give them the chance. My favorite thing to do for my clients is to use what I know to analyze their current situation and give them a realistic forecast for the next few months. As an accountant, I am able to interpret what the numbers are saying and what they signify regarding the health of the company. I think it is my duty to let my clients know what their numbers are saying.
Furthermore, accountants can offer not just predictions, but truly helpful advice for how to navigate any confusing or difficult financial situations that are coming up. Accountants have the insight of working with multiple clients, usually within the same industry. This gives them a really helpful overview of what’s normal, what’s not; what works, what doesn’t. Ask your accountant where you stand among their clients, what you can do to improve, and what they think would make your bookkeeping more effective. I’m sure they have something helpful to say.
Lastly, one of the main ways to make sure you are making the most of your investment with your accountant is to let them do their job. By this I mean, don’t micromanage your accountant. Not only is this preventing them from doing what they are trained to do, but it ends up wasting your time. If you outsource your accounting, it is in order to save you time and energy. By micromanaging your accountant, you’re just basically doing the work twice. I know that your finances are the lifeblood of your company and something many CEO’s stay up at night thinking over. But being able to let your accountant help you, and even guide you sometimes, will take stress off of you and help you to make better, more objective choices.
At the end of the day, accountants speak the language of numbers. Allowing your accountant to help you decipher what your numbers are saying lets them move beyond the realm of human calculator and into a helpful consultant. And frankly, if you’re paying for an outsourced accountant, you shouldn’t settle for anything less.