Conversations to have with your accountant

Author: Toni Hunter
Toni Hunter

Why do you do what you do, as a freelancer or a business owner? This is an important question to ask yourself regularly; it can help to bring the ‘bigger picture’ back into focus when the routine running of your business begins to rule.

There may be any number of reasons that you took those initial steps to turn your enterprising idea into a reality but it’s likely that you share a common ambition with others who have done or are thinking of doing the same. To build something from the ground up that you are proud of, and to succeed.

Small business owners and freelancers, in particular, sometimes ask us the question ‘Do I really need an accountant?’. For us, as chartered accountants and business advisers, the important point to make is that a good accountant does not just understand ‘where you are’, but also ‘where you want to be’. We take care of number crunching and compliance, true, but we also do so much more than that.

We have been with many of our clients since they were fledgling businesses and seen them develop into established organisations. As a result, we have always been strong advocates of the importance of having the right advisory partner on board early on in your journey, to challenge you, to be a sounding board, to help you strategize and to be perceptive of your needs.

If you are at the helm of a business poised for growth, are you having the right conversations with your accountant?

 

Talking to your accountant

 

  • Digital tools and cloud accounting

If you are a business, regardless of size, or within scope of self-assessment, Making Tax Digital will impact you. HMRC’s master plan is to digitalise the UK tax system, and it follows that digital tools and cloud accounting will enable you to keep up and comply. More than that, though, cloud accounting software, apps and digital tools can help you to make efficiencies across your business, to work smarter and to streamline your processes so you can reclaim precious hours in the day.

 

  • Employing more staff, or first-time employer?

As a growing business, you may need to employ staff for the first time or add to your existing workforce. Being an employer brings with it serious responsibilities and legal obligations; from paying the correct wage rates, to ensuring you have an auto-enrolment compliant pension scheme in place. If you fall foul of legislation, the consequences are significant. You should consider how you will effectively manage your payroll and perhaps whether outsourcing could be a solution.

 

  • Have you selected the right structure for your business?

Sole trader? Limited company? Partnership? How you choose to structure your business is an important consideration. Which you opt for depends on your circumstances, your objectives and existing tax thresholds; not only will it differ person to person, but also as thresholds shift. Seek advice, if you’re unsure, as it is not something that can be easily changed.

 

  • The importance of timely management accounts and financial forecasting

Are you drawing useful insight about your business from timely, bespoke management accounts? Well put together management accounts, which pull together real-time, high-quality data to paint a picture of your business’s performance, can be a vital business tool when combined with hands-on advisory and analytical input.

 

  • Innovation and futureproofing

Innovation, creativity and taking steps to futureproof your business should be prioritised as much as cash flow and profitability, if growth is your aim. Look to your adviser for an objective and honest perspective on new ideas; we pride ourselves on listening to our clients, understanding them as people (as well as their business) and formulating realistic business plans and growth strategies, based on what we learn.

 

At George Hay we pride ourselves on an ability to tune into our client’s needs. We question intuitively, listen carefully and give considered, pragmatic and tailored guidance that achieves results.

Our range of accountancy and business advisory services are delivered by a team of friendly and professional chartered accountants and business advisers from offices in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, but we work with businesses throughout the UK. If you’d like to find out more about how we could support you, contact us today.

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