If you’ve never had your own accountant, you might wonder if it’s even necessary. Maybe you feel like you’ve got everything handled and you don’t really need the help. Or maybe you have decision fatigue from all the little decisions you have to make as an owner, and the decision of whether to hire an accountant is currently 73rd on your to-decide list.
To be sure, there’s no legal requirement for small businesses to have an accountant. But accountants can do great things to make your life easier. Maybe you don’t need an accountant, but perhaps by the end of this article you’ll discover that you want one.
Let’s get into some of the not-so-obvious things that accountants like us can do for you.
Impartial Guidance Toward Your Goals
Do you have a retirement account? You’ve probably been asked this question before. Was it a concerned friend asking you, or was it someone who stood to earn a commission based on your answer?
Retirement accounts are incredibly complicated because the laws surrounding them are intricate and subject to change based on what kinds of incentives the government wants to offer that particular year. It takes a team of specialists to keep track of all of these laws and changes. Retirement providers have specialists who can certainly inform you about important laws while also desperately trying to get you to sign up for an account with them.
What we (and other accountants) offer is impartiality. Our compensation is not affected by whether you sign up for a plan or which plan you choose. To be sure, we absolutely recommend that everyone has a retirement account, if only for the tax benefits. But we’re telling you this because it’s a good idea, not because it boosts our spending money.
It’s the same situation with advising you on taxes and helping you to reach your financial goals. We offer impartiality that you can trust.
Providing a Proactive Mindset
Take a look at your company’s business calendar, if you have one. Are your quarterly taxes penciled in? Do you see the due dates for your 1040 estimated tax payments?
If your calendar is missing these important dates, or if you don’t even have a business calendar, we can keep track of these dates for you. Not only will we inform you in a timely manner before these due dates come up, we also offer service packages where we will file them for you.
If, on the other hand, you are a rock star business owner with all important dates on your calendar, fantastic! We can still file your taxes for you. Also we can provide a quarterly business review where we look at your Profit & Loss Report (P&L) and advise you on how your income and expenses are trending. We’ll notify you if something looks out of place or if any particular expense category looks like it’s at risk of getting out of control.
The point here is that we can help you proactively meet these challenges head-on, and help you know how much money to save for them. Businesses that are stuck in a reactive mindset can find themselves scrambling to scrape the cash together for payroll after shelling out for a “surprise” expense that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Don’t be those businesses!
Keeping the Cash Flowing
Even if your business has healthy income and great margins, cash flow always matters. Though a quick glance at the P&L can give you a general idea of how much money is coming in and going out, and a quick look at the bank balance can show you how much money you have right now, an expert’s eye can absolutely help with cash flow.
Accountants can dive deeper by proactively anticipating your cash needs ahead of time. Do you know how much you plan to sock away into retirement this year? If you don’t have a plan for this major cash outlay, you run the risk of not having the cash for it by the end of the year, and then you’re missing out on major tax benefits.
Maybe your revenues are healthy but you are facing issues with cash collections or client retention. Maybe your office expense is higher than expected and you’re not sure quite where the money went. We can help you with all of this!
TL;DR: Let’s reframe the question of whether you need an accountant to whether you want an accountant. We can provide impartial guidance for major business decisions, proactively help you plan to pay for events like estimated tax payments and retirement contributions, and help you avoid cash flow disasters. If you’ve never had your own accountant, you don’t know what you’re missing!