Benefits of Having An Accountant
Accountants probably have a bit of ...
Accountants probably have a bit of an unfair reputation. The fact that they’re not always the most popular professionals is probably down to a misunderstanding of what their role is and what they can do for a business. In this guide, we aim to help explain what accountants do and why you need one for your small business.
What is an accountant? What do accountants do?
Starting with the very basics, let’s consider what the job of an accountant actually entails. An accountant is a trained professional who can prepare, check and analyse the financial affairs of a business. They can check that a company is operating within the law and any relevant guidelines – and can advise on any schemes or benefits that a company may be missing out on as well as offering advice on the best way to overcome financial difficulties.
Why do I need an accountant?
When considering what an accountant does, it’s important to look beyond the function of this role – and consider the knock-on effect of the work outlined above.
Small businesses might be tempted into thinking that they don’t need an accountant, can’t afford one or that they’re just involved in filling in forms to keep the taxman happy. But, by doing all of the above well, a good accountant can:
Save you time – You need to dedicate every minute you can to the important work of developing your products and services to improve your profits. Having someone who can help to check that you’ve filled in your forms correctly, help you to meet key deadlines and offer financial advice will help you to concentrate your efforts on what you do best.
Save you money – Filling in forms incorrectly or failing to understand new legislation could result in a fine, something that would put an unwelcome dent in your profits. Not only that, but accountants will help you to minimise your tax bill by taking advantage of any legal benefits that are open to your business.
Help you to grow – An accountant can act as a valuable sounding board. He or she knows your business almost as well as you do – and probably knows the financial side of it even better. Objective input from someone that knows your business, but doesn’t have the emotional attachment to it that you do, is priceless. By assisting you to make sound judgments, they can help you to grow your business. Accountants can also help you to identify and fix problems before they become a more serious drain on your finances.
Remove worry – Lots of businesses find their finances daunting. After all, there’s a good chance that you might never have come across all of the paperwork and terminology of business accounts before. The complexity of the task in hand – and the importance of deadlines – can cause many people to worry about this. An accountant can ease this burden and offer necessary reassuranc
Four benefits of payroll outsourcing
Are you still managing your payroll...
Are you still managing your payroll in-house? You might think this gives you greater control and oversight but new technologies now offer far more sophisticated outsourcing solutions. In fact, payroll outsourcing can save you valuable time and money – and keep your business operations compliant across multiple locations.
Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of the four main benefits of payroll outsourcing for you to consider:
It saves time
Payroll is a time consuming business. It’s incredibly admin heavy, detail orientated work that, while repetitive, can’t be rushed. Tasks such as keeping track of benefit deductions, new hires, pay increases and contract terminations can be frustrating to process. It’s not unusual for employees to push these tasks to the bottom of the pile, impacting deadlines and productivity.
Repetitive, administrative work, like filing reports and distributing payslips, can be dull but it’s important to do correctly and on-time. This can easily take up large chunks of your employees’ time. If you have a good team of people working for you, wouldn’t you rather put these resources to better business use?
By outsourcing your payroll, your employees will have more time to focus on long-term, strategic business activities.
It guarantees compliance
Keeping up with legislative requirements in one country, let alone across multiple locations, can be difficult. Added to which, in some countries, rules and regulations can change overnight – without any warning! No matter how hard your in-house payroll team tries, it’s all too easy to unwittingly find your company on the wrong side of the law. Unfortunately, inexperience is no defence and your company will be held liable and face penalties for non-compliance.
One of the main benefits of payroll outsourcing is that you no longer have to manage compliance in-house. The responsibility now rests in the hands of in-country, cross-border experts who will ensure that your company is meeting all legislative requirements in each and every location it operates in.
It improves security
If your company’s payroll data is stored on an in-house server or network that isn’t fully secure, you could be vulnerable to cybercrime. Online security is increasingly open to risk and data theft can seriously damage your company’s operations and reputation.
However, if you outsource your payroll, all confidential information will be stored on secure data servers. Professional payroll companies invest in the latest cyber-security technologies and have the right people, software and security measures in place to guard against data loss and cybercrime.
It uses experts
Payroll management is not your core business or main area of expertise – and yet it requires a lot of your resources. By outsourcing your payroll, you will get payroll advice from experts in the field who make it their business to know all the legislative ins and outs of local rules and regulations.
This expert advice will help you realise the benefits of payroll outsourcing. It will guide your day-to-day administration, keep your company on the right side of the law and free up important resources to focus on more business critical work.
Accountant Can Help a Small Business Owner
If you are bootstrapping or startin...
If you are bootstrapping or starting a small business on a limited budget, you have probably spent some time trying to figure out where you can cut business costs and do more on your own to stretch the funds you have available.
One area you may consider doing it yourself instead of hiring it out is accounting. If you have an accounting background and a solid understanding of business finances, this may be a good place to cut costs. However, if you lack experience in managing the books of a business and expect to learn as you go, you should think twice. Managing your own accounting system incorrectly can hurt your business not only now, but also in the long-term.
Below is a rundown of the things an accountant can do for a small business owner. Review the list carefully, especially if you're still unsure why an accountant may be a good resource to add to your small business team.
The Start-Up Process
When you start a business, there are many actions you need to take and systems you need to set up to create the foundation for a successful business. An accountant can help by:
Determining the best business structure (i.e., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, partnership) for your situation.
Assisting with the financial analysis in your business plan.
Providing advice on the type of accounting software you may need.
Providing advice and assistance on opening a business bank account.
Making sure your accounting procedures comply with government regulations and requirements.
Providing advice on how to track expenses during your daily business activities.
Explaining the importance of keeping personal and business expenses separate.
Regular Business Operations
Once your business is off the ground, you will need to maintain the accounting system that your accountant helped you set up. Some specific actions your accountant may take to assist you on an ongoing basis include:
Helping ensure that your independent contractors are classified as such (and not employees) by the IRS.
Explaining your financial statements so you can understand the ins and outs of your business.
Overseeing company payroll and payment processes.
Providing advice on estimated tax payments you should make during the year.
Determining when, and to whom, you should send W2 and 1099 forms.
Closing out your books and create financial reports at the end of the year.
Compiling and submitting your taxes, financial reports, and all necessary paperwork to the IRS.
Business Growth Stage
When you are ready to grow your business, your accountant can be an integral resource that provides advice and helps you manage the process. An accountant can also:
Help you determine areas for growth by providing insight on cash flow patterns, inventory management, pricing, and business financing.
Provide advice on property and equipment leasing and purchase.
Help you prevent getting audited by the IRS.
Prepare you for and guide you through an audit, if necessary.
Create financial forecasts so you can make better decisions in your business.
Work with you to create a business budget that will support your business goals.
Provide advice and resources to assist you with the sale of your business.
These are just some of the ways accountants can work with small business owners. You can opt to hire an accountant for all of your financial activity, or you can choose a combined approach that limits his or her hands-on activity, reducing the expense. For example, you can hire an accountant during the start-up phase and have him/her handle your annual reporting, but work with a bookkeeper to manage your books on a regular basis. A bookkeeper and an accountant can form a very efficient accounting team for your small business.
The most important thing you can do when it comes to your business finances is to recognize when you need to enlist the help of a professional, and then find an accountant who will help maintain the fiscal health of your business.