Gerry Surtees Chartered Tax Adviser

Are you searching for a new accountant? Or fed up with second-guessing whether your accountant is providing the services you require?

There are many things that your accountant can and should be doing for your business, but many simply don’t bother. When it comes to the growth of your business, choosing the right accountant can be the difference between success and failure, and there are a number of things your accountant should be doing for your business in particular: 

Annual tax planningProactive tax planning is crucial for all businesses, but many business owners are unhappy with the service their accountants offer when it comes to reducing your annual tax bills. It is imperative that your accountant organises a tax planning meeting for your business ahead of your company year end. This meeting should identify the most tax efficient structure for your business and reduce annual tax bills. 

Personal tax PlanningAs a business owner, it is crucial that you don’t overlook your personal tax affairs. Your accountant should provide you with professional expertise to advise you and implement tax planning solutions that are appropriate. Your accountant should conduct personal tax year end planning before the end of the tax year, assessing and mitigating directors' IHT exposure every 2-3 years. 

Business Structure Reviews The structure of your business is critically important to ensure you have full protection from risk. You want to be in a position where your assets are not exposed to risk, and ensuring you are extracting the maximum amount of profits out of your business every year. Your accountant should organise a business structure review every 2-3 years to stay on track.  

Business Succession Planning A business succession plan is all about identifying and developing potential successors for key positions in your business, through systematic processes and training, which then enables an exit or gradual handover down the line. Many successful business owners don’t think about this early enough. That’s where your accountant comes into play, they should be proactively working with you to put a plan in place, one that takes advantage of the tax breaks around this.  

Tax Forecasting Your accountant should be keeping you in the picture with your tax obligations up to a year in advance. They should provide every interim set of accounts and help you to minimise unexpected tax liabilities. 

Financial Reporting Your accountant should be focussed on making sure you understand what the true situation is in your business, so you know where you need to focus in order to improve performance. It’s important to receive regular, on time Financial Reporting including Statement of Source and Application of Funds and Cashflow and Profit and Loss Statements showing Actual, Budget and Variance in addition to a Balance Sheet. All of this together allows you to make better business decisions and remain in control of your business. 

Business Financial Plan / Forecast Your accountant should translate your business plan into financial forecasts including a forecast balance sheet, they should calculate break-even sales and targets and identify “opportunities” to “tune” your business. This could allow you to observe the effect of price increases on your customer base. It also enables target setting for marketing and financial goals to be analysed into daily, weekly and monthly targets to ‘stretch’ your team. i.e. number of telemarketing calls or customer contacts required daily at your average invoice value and your lead and quote conversion ratios to strive for a desired sales and profitability level. 

Accounting support during an economic crisis

During the current climate, there’s several additional areas of support you should be able to rely on your accountant to provide. These include:  

  • Proactive budget review sessions and regular meetings and touchpoints to review and update your plan.  
  • Assisting with, advising on and maximising government support that becomes avaliable   
  • Preparing cash flow forecasts for cash management and accessing bank funding.  
  • And finally, your accountant should act as a sounding-board for new ideas and opportunities and ensuring you are maximising these but in a financially low-risk way. 
If your accountant does not offer the things listed above, and is not open to changing, perhaps you should consider moving to an accountant who does. Book a free consultation with a member of the team here at Oldfield Advisory, and we’ll talk you through the solutions we can provide you.