Many small business owners kick-start their new venture with no idea what an accountant is or what he or she does, never mind know one. Only when they are advised by someone who is already been running their own business that they need to see an accountant are the first steps taken to hire an accounting firm.
So what is an accountant?
The vast majority of people who are asked this question would give fairly similar answers – something along the lines of:
- They tell you what books you need to keep for the taxman
- They sort your taxes and file your returns
- They deal with all the tax stuff
That is true of course. But the fact is that, nowadays, dealing with the taxes, the books and the taxman are now becoming a secondary service to modern accounting firms. The taxes and returns are a by-product of the core service offering of the 21st century professional accounting business……..something that is produced automatically from what they really do.
The modern accounting firm
Small business owners in today’s marketplace are faced with more challenges now than ever before. More and more people are becoming self employed, bringing more and often cheaper competition to the market. Customer care is more important now than ever before. Rules and regulations around staff, products, taxes, statutory requirements etc are much more onerous. Time can feel like an ever shrinking commodity.
This is where the modern accounting firm steps in. Modern firms not just number-crunchers and form-fillers. Modern firms are helping their clients is many, many ways such as:
- Setting up cloud accounting systems to help small businesses get up-to-date with their business results
- Automating finance and admin tasks massively reduce the time spent on bookkeeping
- Providing all an-inclusive cloud bookkeeping service to take away all the burden of weekly maintenance of their accounts and books
- Looking after your credit control, chasing up debts
- Dealing with suppliers, maximising your cash-flow and chasing up missing invoices
- Giving you an up-to-date bank balance and help with short term cash-flow predictions
- Helping you budget and project forward properly
- Becoming your virtual financial controller, telling you how your business is doing and changes you can make now to impact on your future
- Putting you in touch with other experts in business finance, legals, HR etc
- Coaching you on a regular basis to help give you the mindset needed for success
The year-end accounting and tax stuff comes as an add-on rather than being the core service that a modern accounting firm provides. And modern firms will be telling you your tax position throughout the year rather than just at the end of your financial year.
Why do small businesses need the modern accounting firm?
Given all the challenges that small business owners face today, it’s important to stay focused on your sales strategy, your marketing plans, your product and service quality, your USP………..and to do this you need to know that all the finance stuff is being taken care of on a regular basis and in a professional manner.
This is why the modern accounting firm is so important to small businesses who want to succeed. If you’re not getting help to know and understand your numbers at least every month, then you’re running your business on auto-pilot and hoping the results at the end of the year turn out, well, OK! You’re leaving the success of your business to chance. Do you really want to be taking that approach with the one thing that is providing for the future of you and your family?
Why do accounting firms need to be working with their clients in this way?
In today’s world, knowledge in no longer power. Google is knowledge. Whilst this may not be 100% accurate, the fact is that this is the perception that most people have. Just ask anyone who does a bit of self-diagnosis online…….they’ll tell you exactly what’s wrong with them (the worst case scenario of course).
Modern accounting firms care about their clients and want to help them succeed, not just do the necessary compliance stuff. Modern accounting firms want to help them to/with:
Small businesses are the life-blood of our economy. Modern accounting firms want to help small businesses flourish for the good of their owners, the owner’s family, their staff, everyone who deals with the small business. The knock-on effect is too important to allow it to be left to chance, for local communities and our economy as a whole.
So if you’re a small business owner or you’re thinking of starting a new venture soon, think about what you really want for your business and your life. If you want to achieve certain goals for your business and be successful, whatever that means to you, then make sure you work with a modern accounting firm to help you on your way.