The Best Questions to Ask your Accountant
As a business owner, it’s important that your relationship with your accountant is strong. This will bring the best value to your business as your accountant will be able to provide the best possible insights into your business finances and make more informed decisions that can help improve your bottom line.
To get the most from your relationship, it’s good to know what questions to ask so in this article, we take a look at some key questions you should be asking.
How much should you reveal to your accountant?
Before we start, one of the common questions many people consider is how much information they should reveal to an accountant.
It’s important to be open and honest with your accountant. They will need to know all the details of your finances in order to provide the best advice and guidance. While it may be tempting to keep some items private, it is important that you tell your accountant everything so they can give you tailored and accurate advice.
How can you help me reduce my tax liability?
Taxes can be a significant expense for any business. Some of the biggest savings can be made by looking at the most tax-efficient ways to structure your business, taking advantage of tax breaks and reducing your overall tax liability.
How can I improve my cash flow?
Cash flow is a critical aspect of any business, and managing it effectively means you have funds to pay bills, employees, buy supplies or goods to keep the day-to-day business running in a timely manner.
A high incoming cash flow therefore reduces risks and reduces the need to look for funding or tap your reserves.
Tactics such as negotiating better payment terms with suppliers, chasing overdue invoices better and managing your inventory more effectively can dramatically improve you cash flow, for example.
What financial reports should I be looking at?
Financial reports can provide valuable insights into your business’s performance and help you make more informed decisions.
Reports such as profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements help you manage risk and put better plans in place before problems occur.
Having the reports is key but make sure you ask your accountant how to understand the information they contain and also how to act upon it.
How can I prepare for an audit?
If your accounts are subject to a statutory audit, the process can be stressful, but with the right preparation and advice, you can ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Your accountant should let you know what to expect during an audit to ensure you have the necessary documentation and ensure that you stay compliant with accounting standards.
How can you help me grow my business?
As a business owner, you likely want your business to grow. Accountants are instrumental in helping with strategic planning and developing a growth plan for your business.
What other services do you offer?
In addition to traditional accounting services, such as bookkeeping and tax preparation some accountants offer a range of other services that can be beneficial to your business.
These may include financial planning, business consulting and software implementation. Ask your accountant what the services are and more importantly, how they can benefit your business.
What makes you different from other accountants?
Many accountants offer similar generic services but when it comes to making the choice as to which accountant you go with, understanding any unique differences or additional benefits may help you confirm your selection.
Examples of extra benefits
To help you identify some valuable additional benefits we’ve listed a few below:
- Proactive Accounting – Services designed to help you overcome the challenges most businesses face throughout their life, not just at year end. Having a partner who can help you quickly and efficiently and at your convenience is key, so you can focus on what you do best, running your business.
- Fixed Fees – Understanding the cost of services is important to avoid running up large bills with your accountant. A fixed monthly fee, for everything you need means there are no surprise invoices.
- Tax Investigation Protection – Tax investigations from HMRC can happen to anyone, whether you are an individual or an SME. With the average enquiry taking 18 months to conclude, costs can quickly escalate. Ensuring you get expert cover including legal support is invaluable.
We’ve covered some of the key questions you should ask your accountant to help maximise your relationship and ensure there are fewer misunderstandings.
In addition, we’ve identified some valuable extra benefits that may help you make your choice when it comes to selecting an accountant.
Franks Accountants can help you take your business to the next level and we include the extra benefits mentioned above and more, as standard.
From tax advice and planning to payroll & payslips we’re the pro-active accountant here to help protect and grow your business.
Give us a call or use the form below to find out more and we will happily answer any questions you may have.
For more on Tax investigation Protection check out our article: What is tax investigation protection and do I really need it?