The best advice
For many years, an accountant’s job was to make sure their clients complied with the law regarding financial management and met HMRC requirements and deadlines.
The modern accountant, however, is so much more than a number cruncher. From advising on how to grow your business successfully to raising finance on your behalf, your accountant can add real value to your business. Many organisations now see their accountants as strategic partners who play an integral part in running their business.
Achieving a resilient and sustainable business model can be challenging for start-ups and small businesses. Often the day-to-day running leaves little room for long-term planning. And financial constraints may mean you don’t have the resources or skills in-house to put together a growth strategy for your business.
An accountant can create a strategy for your business based on financial insight, which can:
- Improve the efficiency of your operations
- Inform your product or service development
- Optimise your organisational structure
- Refine your budgets.
By reviewing your historical financial data and providing you with relevant information, an accountant can help shape the future of your business – for example, whether to expand, implement recovery strategies or buy another company.
The influence of technology
The impact of technology on the accountancy sector has been profound. Automation has improved processes and procedures and enabled faster data processing. Routine, repetitive tasks are now done by technologies such as Robotic Process Automation and AI, freeing up time and improving productivity.
Accountants can now focus on more complex and valuable tasks, and as a result, accountancy has become an advisory-led service rather than just financial management.
Accountants provide their clients with a broad range of services to complement financial management. Your accountant can advise on the appropriate course of action to take as your business moves through different growth stages.
As your accountant is already familiar with your financial position, they can provide you with several services to help manage your cash flow. They can produce cash-flow projections, advise on where to get credit so you can pay your bills and payroll and keep your business running.
Tax isn’t just about handing over your hard-earned money to HMRC. With the right planning, you can save money, maximise your investments and minimise your tax bill.
As well as keeping you compliant with legal regulations, your accountant will make sure you use your tax allowances and available deductions, exemptions and exclusions effectively.
Your accountant can also help you with estate planning. They can advise on how to optimise the amount of money you leave in your estate and how to reduce your heirs’ inheritance tax liability.
Acting as a virtual Finance Officer
Many SMEs need the direction and experience of a Finance director or Chief Finance Officer (CFO) to move their business forward, but may not have the funds available to employ one full time. The modern accountant can provide this service for you on a part-time basis. As they already know your financial situation, they can start adding value to your business straightaway.
Finding accounting and Management Information software
Technology has become an integral part of our financial management system. Internally, organisations need software for financial record-keeping and to maximise the use of management information. Externally, legal, financial reporting is moving towards fully digital platforms. For example, the Government is overhauling the tax system with its Making Tax Digital initiative.
However, the choice of software available can be overwhelming. Your accountant can advise on suitable software for your business which will put the right controls in place and allows you to make informed, data-driven decisions.
Your accountant can help you find the best finance options for your business and prepare loan documentation. They will advise on the type of finance you need and through proper preparation, reduce the probability of your application being rejected. They also will consider the longer-term implications of taking out finance on your business.
There are several stages throughout the life cycle of your business where you may need to get it valued. For example:
- Tax negotiations
- Succession planning
- Dispute resolution
- Potential bankruptcy
- Mergers and acquisitions
Your accountant can carry out a business valuation analysis. It will take into account your company’s growth potential, external factors such as the state of the economy and intangible assets: for example, goodwill.
If you’re considering setting up another business, your accountant can make sure you’re adequately prepared, so your new venture has the best chance of success. They can develop business plans, budgets, funding applications and advise on the appropriate legal structure for the business.
The right accountant will be able to provide advisory services to help your business achieve sustainable growth. Our experienced team would be happy to talk to you about how our advisory services could benefit your business. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation chat.