Accounting Myth: Accountants just do the books … they can’t help your business

Posted by Michael Foudy on February 14, 2017
  • There are many myths about accountants such as…the profession is all about maths…that accounting software is now so clever they are not needed at all…that they are only needed at year-end or tax-year end…that accountants are expensive…that an accountant can’t help assess and improve financial performance and a lot of business owners are somehow content for their ‘favourite’ accountant to ‘just’ do the books.

    Now we could look at each and every one of these and we may do in future blog posts, however, I would like to concentrate on just one for now and that is “Accountants just do the books”.

    Filing Accounts, taxes and generally looking after the books are the basics for any accountant they could and should do much more, so demand this of your accountant as utilised correctly your accountant can save and even make you money.

    Accountants have been around the block, they have seen it, done it, and got the T-shirt…It’s this experience that makes them the unsung heroes of many organisations of all shapes and sizes.

    Here we are going to explore 10 fundamental tasks your accountant can collaborate with you on to enhance your business and ensure that you reach your future goals and dreams.

    1. Business Strategy – Because your accountant has a fundamental understanding of your unique business model, they are ideally placed to advise on strategic changes – e.g. new premises, new product lines, outsourcing vs insourcing. Sure there will be an emphasis on the financial projections around any such decision, but an accomplished accountant will help you weigh up the relative business risk as well.​
    2. Customer Profitability – Review Do you know financially who your best customers are? Do you have legacy customers that no longer align with your strategy? Is it time to consolidate your customer base, perhaps give more to fewer customers? Your accountant is on hand to ensure you make the best possible decision.
    3. Pricing – A competent accountant can build cost models for you to support your pricing and proposals. They will help you frame your pricing to the customer to enhance value and assess the impact on profit (margin) and cash resource. No more relying on ‘back-of-a-fag-packet’ calculations!
    4. Cash Flow Forecasting Cash – (or the availability of cash) is commonly one of the business owner’s greatest concerns. Your accountant will help you manage your position so that your staff, suppliers and taxes are all paid on time ….. and you won’t be constantly refreshing that online bank account to see if that chunky customer receipt has landed.
    5. Operations – An inquisitive and experienced accountant, in their dealings with businesses of different size and industry, has observed and learned what best practice is (and what isn’t). By their very nature, accountants are methodical and efficient, and have the tools to review, streamline and enhance many processes, often leveraging both financial and non-financial applications, and hence saving you both time and ultimately, money.
    6. Connectivity – Accountants are in a privileged position. They build relationships and rapport with a broad range of people and organisations across the business world. If you need an expert in a certain field, it’s more than likely that your accountant can refer you to someone who can provide you with the requisite qualified support.
    7. Tax – An accountant will help you plan your tax affairs, from a holistic business and personal stance, with both a short-term and long-term view. The inevitability of taxes is here to stay, but you should never have to pay more than you need to.
    8. Cloud Software – The emergence of software ecosystems in recent years means that astute finance professionals are using accountancy software as a hub for helping businesses with other software applications, that integrate seamlessly with each other. They can now make software and systems work much harder right across your business so you don’t have to!
    9. KPI Setting – If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Your finance professional should work with you at any point in your business lifecycle to identify the key metrics of your business which if you succeed on, will lead to ultra-positive effects on both profit and cash-flow. They will then measure them and work with you to understand the results and help you to make modifications where necessary.
    10. Access to Finance and securing it – If you need help with a business plan, or of if you require alternative finance or funding would you turn to your accountant? If they are really good, they will help you with both your financial projections, business analysis and assess which finance-platform is best for you.

    And finally, Accountants are Introverts or boring! Well we’re not, not at Laxmi, we’ve got moves like Jagger, imagination like Grisham and although it’s not all about maths we like to believe we have Einstein-like traits!

    If you would like help with any of the tasks discussed or if you’re bored of your boring accountant, then please give Laxmi a call today.