Back in the day, when ledgers were handwritten, you would
likely see your accountant once a year, with conversation limited to how much
tax you had to pay. So, it’s understandable that most people’s perception of
accountants is of us not being overly approachable or proactive.
Let me assure you, if it’s close to a year since you last spoke to your accountant, it’s time that you both stepped into the 21st Century.
Times have changed, and so has the role of your accountant. If you’re reading this post, it’s safe to say that you don’t feel like you’re getting the best value out of your current accountant. Here are five qualities that we consider non-negotiable when it comes to finding the right accountant to ensure your business success.
1. Your accountant advises on business matters
If your accountant still speaks in terms of your BAS, Tax
Returns and due dates, run a mile. Your accountant should be talking to you
about how to do better business. It’s as simple as that. If they’re not
advising you, you’re just wasting money. A good accountant will be putting in
place measures to easily access your financial information, so you’re not
carting a shoebox full of receipts around and will be scheduling regular
meetings to ensure you’re tracking against your business goals. A good
accountant will not only advise in terms of your business’ numbers, but should
also be experienced enough to provide (or at least have a network of referral
partners) great general advice on integral business topics such as human
resource management, marketing, branding, digital strategy, sales, etc.
2. Your accountant cares about your business
If you feel like you’re being treated like a number, then
chances are that’s exactly what you are. Many businesses actively seek out an
accountant they wish to work with, only to discover that once they’ve signed
the engagement letter, they’re palmed off to the latest graduate. A good
accountant will care about your business, and will be proactive in helping you
make your business the best it can be.
3. Your accountant recommends and can implement cloud
accounting strategies for your business
If you are keeping receipts in a dusty old shoebox and
backing up your MYOB file and posting it off to your accountant for your annual
tax return, well very simply, you need a new accountant. This is an antiquated
practice, and it’s not effective for your business. Cloud accounting has been
around for some time now, and it’s where your business needs to be.
Why, you ask?
Well, other than being a huge cost saving for you, you’ll know exactly what’s going on with your money at any given minute of the day, your bookkeeping will become so much simpler and quicker and your accountant can login at any time to give you real time advice. It also includes the ATO required Single Touch Payroll (STP). So look for an accountant that will be able to set up a cloud accounting strategy for you. A good place to start your search is right on the Xero website.
4. Your accountant provides fixed price agreements
Gone are the days when you anxiously await your accountant’s
bill, quietly praying that by some miracle it won’t be as exorbitant as you’re
anticipating. Most accountants now offer a competitive fixed price agreement to
take care of all the number crunching stuff. The real value is in your
accountant’s ability to integrate cloud accounting technology to seamlessly
manage your business, and their advisory service. A good accountant will have
no hesitation in broaching the subject of fees straight up. If it doesn’t come
up, ask. If your prospective accountant isn’t forthcoming on price, or the fees
seem a little on the steep side, find another accountant. You need to feel
confident that your accountant is on your side and transparency is a pretty
good indicator of whether they are or not.
5. Your accountant is a good listener
If your accountant is a good advisor, then they’ll be a good
listener. People go into business for a variety of reasons, with different
goals, objectives and lifestyle needs. A good accountant will be proactive in
seeking to understand your motives, continually checking in and keeping you on
track. A good accountant will also be a good sounding board for ideas and be
able to provide insight when you’re dealing with challenges. You need to feel
listened to and understood. If you’re not feeling it, then you’re probably not
getting the advice you deserve.
Remember, while you’re on your quest to find a good accountant, you’re not looking for a bean counter or a number cruncher. What you want in an accountant is someone who knows your business inside and out, and who will help you navigate the best path forward in your business journey. Let these five pointers be a good starting point in guiding you to find the right accountant for your business.
Drop us a line to book in for a chat. We would love to hear about you and your businesses needs. (02)63 62 8255 or email@example.com.