You don’t, and shouldn’t, need to be an authority on financial matters to be a contractor, sole trader, in a partnership or to run your own company. A good accountant will free you up to concentrate on your work, while giving you confidence that your numbers are working for you.
A proactive accountant will help you reduce your tax, maximise profits and achieve your goals. Successful business owners seek financial advice regularly — no matter what state their accounts are in.
A good accountant is key to the financial health and success of most businesses and self-employed people.
On a basic level, it’s their job to help make the numbers work for you by:
They will also objectively assess how your business is performing, where you’re falling short and how you can work to improve.
Lots of accountancy firms also offer business advisory and coaching services to help you with strategic planning.
The monthly fee for most accountancy services puts off some business owners, contractors and self-employed people — but the old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true. Investing in a good accountant will save you money, and potentially your business, in the long run.
If you’re worried about the cost, many advisors offer a free initial consultation.
While you should check in with your accountant on a regular basis, it’s particularly important to get financial advice when you are:
Ask for expert help before you get into any serious financial trouble.
Richie runs a home maintenance and repair business. After three years of struggling with cash flow, Richie begins to burn out. He’s working harder than ever, but his efforts aren’t translating into profits — and he doesn’t know why.
Richie decides to consult with an accountant, who closely analyses his financial statements.
His accountant notices many of his customers aren’t paying him on time, and he’s using several high-interest credit cards for a lot of his expenses.
She helps him set up better invoicing methods, consolidates his debt, and moves him to a lower-interest credit card. She also works with him to put together guidelines on when, and when not to, use the credit card for work expenses. And she coaches him on how he can manage his money better in the future.
Different accountants have different styles and areas of expertise.
Some focus mostly on bookkeeping and tax time matters. Others offer a full range of business services.
If you are starting out, find an accountant who has experience dealing with people in your industry and stage of business, eg launching a start-up or becoming self-employed. You’ll get the most value from a diligent, proactive accountant who dissects your financial documents and spots potential problems before they arise.
They can keep you up to date with accounting, tax and payroll obligations.
When you meet your accountant for the first time, you’ll need to bring them up to speed on all the different parts of your work.
Bring along financial and planning documents including:
If you’re new to business, contracting or working as a sole trader, an accountant who specialises in advising people who are starting out can help you create these documents. If you run a business, they can also help you with other important first steps, including:
Be prepared to answer lots of questions and be challenged — a good accountant will unpick your documents and ideas to get a true reading on the financial health of your business.
Use this free template to help you write a great plan for launching your new business.
A business plan helps you set goals for your business, and plan how you’re going to reach them. When you’re starting out it’s a good idea to do a full and thorough business plan.
Quick-focus planning to make sure you work on the right things for your growing business - every day.
It’s important to take time to reflect on your business strategies and plan. It doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming task.