Too many business owners under-utilise their accountants. This means that they are missing out on the benefits that a good accountant can bring to their organisation.

As an experienced accountant I have observed a common theme to client relationships in general. The client brings their records in to the accountant’s office once a year for the preparation of annual accounts and tax returns, the accountant duly prepares them, they have an all too brief chat about it and the documents are signed and submitted to HMRC etc. This process is repeated every twelve months without any significant contact in-between.

Why is this bad for business?

Accountants are multi-skilled professionals. They have a skills set that covers areas which could be missing from your organisation. The absence of these skills could be a competitive disadvantage for your business.

Thinking ahead, making informed decisions and reflecting upon the outcome of those decisions are essential to surviving, growing and competing in business. Finance is a big factor in all of this because ultimately, when it comes to running a business cash is king.

You could be missing out. Tax legislation changes all the time with the introduction of new tax planning opportunities and withdrawal of old ones nearly every year. It may be possible to change your business structure to save tax or improve efficiency. Your accountant doesn’t know everything that’s going on in your business and the less you speak to them the less likely they are to come up with ideas to help you.

What can you do about it?

It doesn’t have to cost a lot.

You may not want to implement a full blown budgeting and management reporting system but just keeping in-touch with your accountant and discussing the financial impact of the decisions you make in business throughout the year will help you to keep focused and make the right decisions. It will also give your accountant a better insight into your business.

Who can help?

You need an accountant who has a long term perspective when it comes to client relationships. They are easy to spot. Taking your phone calls, making time for meetings, showing a genuine interest in your business and offering relevant ideas for improvement are all signs of a good accountant. This level of service shouldn’t have to be at a premium price because it is as good for your accountant’s business as it is for yours. Helping your business succeed should be part of the service.