Key ways an accountant can help a small business grow – Part 1Back 29 July 2019
What role does your accountant play in your business’s growth? Through supporting businesses of all sizes around Dartford and Kent, we have identified five ways in which we help founders to achieve their goals.
When we work with a company, we want to see them rocket to success. We can’t help but feel connected when we’ve worked with them since their early days. We see them achieve their initial milestones, then help them set more and work towards those. It’s very fulfilling for us as, with small companies, we can be a mentor and adviser as well as helping them to achieve compliance.
If your accountant has got the experience that you’ll need to draw on as you become more successful, they’ll have seen hundreds of companies go through what you are now. Use that knowledge to benefit your company.
If you ask lots of questions early on, and don’t feel they’re that motivated to get involved, it’s probably a good early indicator that they won’t be a good fit later on.
So, let’s dig in to some of the ways in which we’ve helped companies like yours grow:
Guidance and advice
Set-up guidance/company formation
Critical decision making starts from the very beginning. For example, what legal entity should you form - sole trader, limited company, limited liability partnership? It’s hard to make a decision when it’s all so new. But, of course, it’s not new to us, so ask the questions and find out the pros and cons of each.
Speaking in plain English
Everyone’s job involves some jargon and shorthand. Some accountants can make it pretty hard to understand what they mean and why it’s important. It’s easy to get lost in amongst P11Ds, double entry systems and MTD* so, if it’s not something you’ve had to deal with before, make sure you’re working with someone who’s making sure you understand the terms, and in particular what the implications are for you and your business. There’s nothing worse than someone who uses their knowledge to keep people at arms’ length rather than bring them benefits.
Included in your fees, which you should expect to be clear with no hidden exclusions, should be a level of ongoing ad hoc and planned access to your accounting team. Whether it’s a quick call to check something, or a quarterly meeting to ensure you are on track, the right level of support should be available to you whenever you require it.
Benchmarking against competitors and sector
It’s true, comparison is the thief of joy. But, that often doesn’t stop any of us from wondering how we’re doing against our competition. We have access to data across all sectors so we can see if you are over- or under-performing, and offer some advice on what to do next. Knowing that everyone is experiencing a similar rate of growth, particularly if it’s more depressed than previously, can be very comforting. Better still to outperform a market!
Give you confidence
Like we said earlier, we want to see you do well. We like to work with successful companies, however, you define your success. The numbers speak for themselves and we can help you to see what has been achieved and what you can learn from that. Having confidence in your accountancy information should make business planning easier and reduces risk in decision-making.
Access to funds
Our clients like the fact that we’re well connected. It helps us to find opportunities for them, whether that’s for future partnerships, buy-outs or service extensions.
Preparing projections and financial info they need
I’m sure we all remember the Dragon’s Den people who didn’t know their turnover ……? Whether it’s a loan, a retirement plan or an investment opportunity, having the expected information accurately prepared can make a big difference in making the right impression. Not only can we help prepare the information, we can help to prep you so you are confident during the questioning.
Help you access external finance
Gaining access to research and development grants can make a big difference when you are looking to move into new areas of business in science and technology. Our clients get direction in how to apply for R&D and innovation projects in the most effective way.
Better use of internal resources
Rather than taking up lots of your time and energy wading through paperwork and learning new skills, why not use those resources more effectively by outsourcing what you don’t do, to focus time on doing what you do well.
We thought this post was getting pretty lengthy and, as an owner of a growing business, you’d better get back to focusing on that.
But, if you want to know the other 3 ways, get in touch. Or, keep your eyes peeled for the second instalment which will be released soon.
* Since we aren’t the type to try to confuse, P11D is the form used to report expenses and benefits paid to directors and employees which have not been subject to PAYE tax, double entry bookkeeping systems are when you enter all transactions twice to track acquisition and spend, and MTD is ‘Making Tax Digital’, the initiative to move companies towards making digital tax submissions online.