Accountant? Advisor? Why You Need Both.
When you think of accountants, what comes to mind? The person who files your taxes? A number cruncher? This is a narrow view of the capabilities and services provided by an accountant. In recent years, the accounting industry has evolved with a greater focus on advisory services. Elliot Titcher, CPA, notes that “businesses are getting more complex to run, and owners are now realizing that they do not have the in-house expertise to meet all the challenges. They benefit from outside help.”
So, with that in mind, are you taking advantage of the support you can receive from your accountant? As businesses look to drive strategic growth and maximize efficiency, they should seek out advisory services that provide a scalable method of increasing review and profitability. Because your accountant is familiar with your company’s complete financial picture, they are in a unique position to offer valuable advice, tailored to your specific needs and goals, helping you to avoid costly mistakes.
Let’s look a little closer at a few of the areas that your accountant can be a trusted advisor.
· Financial Advisory: Financial reports such as your balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement, provide an overview of the financial health of your company. Your accountant uses these reports to develop forecasts, budgets, and assist with cash flow planning. Talk with your accountant about the short and long-term goals you have for your business so they can share their knowledge and expertise to help you reach them.
· Compliance: Accountants are already keeping you on the right side of the law when it comes to your taxes, but compliance is not just being sure taxes are filed on time. Compliance activities include filing sales tax, administering payroll, and much more. It is an accountant’s job to know how changes to laws or regulations affect processes and ensure that your records and reports are reliable and accurate.
· Process Advisory: Organizations are comprised of people and the tasks they must perform. Are your people, tasks, and tools in alignment? Having an accountant review your processes and systems provides an opportunity to ensure that your business is operating efficiently. Recommendations can be made on ways to improve functional organization which can lead to higher profitability.
· Crisis Management Services: Crisis management services are a valuable tool for addressing high-impact, hard-to-predict events. It could be a cyber-breach or a natural disaster that affects business operations. In 2019, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that affected almost all businesses. We worked closely with clients through this time and found that those who had a crisis management plan in place were able to pivot quickly and minimize the negative impacts of the pandemic. Because we take our roles as advisors seriously, we continue to share important information with all our clients and host live webinars and Q&A sessions to share important information and best practices.
Accountants have the skills and capabilities to be a trusted advisor who works with you to understand your business, your unique challenges, and your short and long term goals. They recommend strategies to help guide business success. Elliot notes that when accountants provide robust advisory services “business owners can concentrate on what they do best to make their company successful and learn which functions should be outsourced.”