7 things to discuss with your accountant 

As business owners, many of us know that we need an accountant. This might be because we don’t have the time or expertise to keep up with our finances, or because we are concerned about being properly tax compliant.

However, getting an accountant involved in your business doesn’t mean that you no longer need to think about your finances – in fact, it’s good practise to leverage your accountant’s unique skillset in order to learn, implement and grow!

Having had hundreds of detailed financial discussions with our clients over the years, here are my recommendations of a few things you might want to discuss at your next meeting.

1. Your business goals
According to Leon Tec, M.D., A sailor without a destination cannot hope for a favourable wind. When running a business, you must set some goals so that you are clear what a good day’s work looks like. Your accountant will need to know what you are hoping to achieve in order that they can advise and guide you to help you get there. Most successful businesses have their goals documented in a business plan – usually on one page. A business plan is alive document which you should review with your accountant regularly.

2. Your personal goals
Your business goals will be different from your personal goals. Your business should help you achieve your personal goals e.g. having enough time off work, family holidays, financial freedom or to make a difference to your industry. Whatever you are passionate about. It is important to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve for YOURSELF through your business. And if your accountant knows that too they can help you and hold you accountable.

3. Pensions/Retirement
If you’re in your thirties, forties or fifties – thinking about your retirement may seem a little premature. However, any charted accountant will tell you that it’s never too soon to prepare for the inevitable. Who knows, you might get lucky and be able to retire early if you plan well enough in advance.

Involving your accountant in the early stages of planning for your old age means that you’ll be getting the best advice and maximising your tax benefits from the start. There are several different types of pensions, including: personal, stakeholder, company, Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) and state pensions – plus many more. Allow your accountant to help you navigate the choices.

4. Managing risks with business insurance
Getting insurance is a great way to protect yourself and your business. An accountant will be able to advise you on insurance types and how to claim the premiums back as expenses. There are many types of insurance, with different business needs in mind. Some examples include: professional liability insurance, property insurance, personal accident cover, life insurance, home-based business insurances, product liability insurance and many more, dependant on your industry. Business insurance will qualify as an allowable expenses to reduce the amount of tax you pay.

5. Business Purchases & Expenses you can claim
Whether you’re a service or product based business, there are many items and services that you purchase in order to run your enterprise. It is often surprising to many people that a lot of their purchases can be claimed back as expenses. From mileage to paper supplies, home offices to dry-cleaning – an accountant will be able to advise on easy areas to save and conserve costs when it comes to your tax return.

6. Taxes – what they are when they are due
The end of the tax year needn’t strike fear into your heart. Your accountant can look after your tax liabilities, whether you’re freelance, contracting, a limited company or VAT registered. In fact, the larger your company gets, the more complicated your tax return can become. Bigger businesses will be required to report their VAT liabilities more frequently than smaller businesses. You can involve an accountant at any point in the process, but it is advised to have some professional input when it comes to preparing your tax returns.

7. Systems for your business
In the digital age, it’s worth understanding the security and storage of your business records. With the increasing use of smart phones and cloud accounting technology, you should consider using systems that allow you to have access to your data securely from any devise. Your accountant can provide the necessary training to help you get confident with using cloud systems. Using cloud accounting systems will also mean that you and your accountant have joint access. It is beneficial to work with an accountant who utilises your chosen software. Having 24/7 access to your accounts can give you peace of mind and help you to learn about your business finances at the same time.

If you’d like to discuss any of the above points with us, we’re happy to give impartial and no-obligation advice. Check out our services page for more information, drop us an email or give us a call.

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