If you run a micro business at some point you’ll probably take the plunge and hire your accountant.
However you may be surprised to know that they can do a lot more than just your tax return.
In fact, here are 10 ways your accountant can help you that you may not be aware of…
We’ve all been there.
Your to-do list, your goals, your deadlines. Do they get done, or do they get sabotaged by put-it-off gremlins?
Gentle reminders from your accountant can be the difference between your bookkeeping and tax return being a stress fest, constantly featuring on every month’s to-to list, and a task that gets done with no fuss.
Knowing you’re held accountable can be that bit extra that gets it done.
2. Help get rid of procrastination
Why do we procrastinate?
Often it’s a lack of confidence. Confidence can be the difference between getting on with it, or being scared or unsure instead so we put it off.
- What if you knew which receipts could come off your tax bill?
- What if you knew which networking events could come off your tax bill – and which can’t?
Suddenly a lot of those tatty receipts become cash going back into your business instead of a “boring-not-sure-what-to-do-with-these” job.
Feeling confident means knowing you’re doing the right thing with your cash flow. It can also ensure you make higher quality decisions about which purchases to make. Both of which makes it much easier to grow your business.
3. Help grow your business
You may be a micro business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want more sales.
Growing your business isn’t just about leads, conversion rates, sales targets and SEO. It isn’t even about hiring a business coach, although that is a good idea.
- Do you know your numbers?
- Do you know what money you have coming in every month?
- Do you know how much you have going out?
- Do you know what you’re owed?
- Do you know what to do about it if you’re not paid?
Anyone watching Dragon’s Den can see the difference between the people who know their business numbers and the people who don’t.
Running a business well and growing your business means having a really good understanding of what is going on at the bottom line. And that means your accounts and the flow of money.
You don’t need to be adept at the accounting jargon.
You do need to know which numbers matter, how to find out where to get them and what to do with them once you have them.
That’s what your accountant is there to help with.
4. Increase your profits
Profit is what pays your mortgage and buys you food and chocolate.
You’ll agree it’s very important.
Sales lead to profit and, assuming your profit margins are in order, more sales are what grows your business and gives you more money to spend on nice things, like coaching or chocolate (or gadgets).
The problem is that if you lack confidence, put it off or are scared of doing your accounts, then that’s time not spent on activities that lead to an increase in your sales and profits.
People recommend outsourcing for a reason.
You don’t need to outsource it all, just what you are comfortable with and what your budget will allow. You’d be surprised what a bit of hand holding and talking through can achieve.
THEN, away you go, ready to build your sales sheet and take on the world.
5. Reduce your expenses
Expenses are what takes money out of your business and we all have them. In fact we need them in order to provide our service or products to clients and customers.
It’s a complicated area though. What can come off your tax bill varies a lot, business by business and circumstances by circumstances.
There could be expenses that can come off your tax bill that you aren’t claiming for – that’s money that increases your profits.
It needs a detailed look, and you don’t want to fall foul of the Taxman so ask a professional to help you and review it every year to check it’s current and legal.
6. Eliminate fear of your accounts
Hands up, who gets in a panic when it’s tax time?
Fear is the experience for most people for their accounts and tax return. And with good reason, to be honest. It’s complicated, it’s important, it can be hard to understand, and most of the time there aren’t any hard and fast rules.
That can be stressful and when it is, that stops you getting on with making sales and profits and growing your business.
Fear is the difference between your accounts being an important but just do it task – like cleaning your teeth twice a day – and putting it off and procrastination.
Ask your accountant how they can help you.
Having a system for keeping records that really works for you, understanding what is important for your business accounts and knowing a bit of HMRC’s terminology can really make the difference.
Tax-deductible expenses anyone?
7. Give you time
You can save time by outsourcing your tax return, bookkeeping or accounts, or all three.
Think about what you can afford and what you need and ask for it.
There are a lot of helpful services out there you may not realise exist.
- What about a review of your bookkeeping system?
- Checking your tax return?
- How about accounts mentoring and email support?
Ask around – Twitter is a good place and so is Micro Business Hub.
You’re the client. What do you need help with? See how a bit of support can release lots of time for you to get on with what you really need to be doing. It doesn’t need to be expensive.
8. Show you how to save
Saving may not be required by HMRC, but you’ll need it if you’re going to stay solvent.
You need to be able to pay your suppliers, pay your tax bill (in advance or with your tax return), pay VAT, pay subcontractors, pay yourself!
Your accountant can help you with how to manage this and not get in a pickle with paying bills in the short terms.
Savings now are to prevent cash flow stress later, so think of it as stress prevention rather than that boring thing you really ought to be doing but seems just a bit too grown up.
There are savings for your business, savings for the taxman, and savings for you (and your family) to consider, so have a think about where your life priorities are, and then pick up the phone and ask to book a chat about it.
Depending on your arrangement with your accountant, it might not even cost you anything.
9. Get you paid
Every business needs to get paid.
Getting paid on time is the difference between a business and going bust.
Cash flow is crucial – that’s having enough money to pay your bills when they’re due. Your accountant can help with managing your cash flow (e.g. paying the mortgage and paying your business suppliers) and how to maximise the chances of getting paid, and on time, and what to do when you aren’t.
Cash flow problems are one of the biggest stressors out there, so please ask.
10. Send you a brownie 😉
Ok, ok, I admit, most accountants won’t send you a brownie (I will).
A lot are genuinely appreciative of your business and will treat you well and say thank you in their own way.
A big thank you goes a long way in micro business.
What do I do if I don’t have an accountant and want one?
Many accountants are very friendly and will appreciate you being honest and asking for what you need – help with the numbers, what to do with receipts, etc. Paying for some help is much cheaper than wasting time and the stress involved in doing it all yourself, so just ask. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Today’s Micro action
Who are you going to ask to hold you accountable for those action decisions you’ve taken as you’ve been reading?