Do you get maximum value out of your accountant? Beyond simply calling them up at tax time, you can use your accountant to provide your small business with a constant stream of financial advice throughout the year.
Our diagram below shows how you can enter into an advisory cycle with your accountant. It’s simple. You can meet up once a quarter and use the weeks in between meetings to review your budget and compare it to your actual performance using an online cash flow forecasting and budgeting tool.
When it comes to your quarterly appointment with the accountant, the meeting should happen in three stages:
To start with, bring your overall business goals into focus. How close are you to achieving them? How does this quarter’s performance influence your timeline — are you closer or further away from reaching your goals than you anticipated you would be?
If there are changes in your performance compared to your expected progress, home in on what has happened and why exactly it has occurred. Be detailed in your observations and use this knowledge as you move on to the planning stage to create more robust plans for the future.
Using your insights from the quarter gone by, plan for the quarter ahead. Realistically, what are you expecting to achieve, and how will the coming quarter be different to your last? In this stage you will also want to create scenario plans detailing how variable factors may affect the outcome of your business. The planning stage of your quarterly meeting should leave you feeling prepared for any circumstance, with you and your accountant on the same page about what to expect in the quarter to come.
With your new plans in mind, review your cash flow forecast and check to see if it is still accurate. Using the helicopter view you will now have of your business’ financial health, you can review all your existing plans and ensure they are realistic. Do you need to make any changes to your business knowing what you do now?
For an easy way to focus, plan and review the financial data of your small business, why not try Reep for free? Reep is a cloud-based accounting software created specifically to help small business owners view and interpret their financial data. With visual representations of your budgets and forecasts and the ability to model different scenarios, Reep helps you and your accountant remain on the same page and work together to improve the financial stability of your business.