We can do your tax and compliance work – just like all other accountants. But we can actually help you with so much more. We can act as troubleshooters and strategic advisors for small business.

14 things you didn’t know an accountant could do.

Accountants can help small business in lots of different ways. They can give you strategic advice and come up with clever ways to save money or boost revenue. They’ll also remove or automate administrative tasks that distract you from your core business. Get an accountant and you’ll run your business with more clarity and confidence- especially when combined with online accounting software that puts you both on the same page.

So what does an accountant do? Here are 14 things that your account could (and should) be helping with.

1) Launch a startup.

It takes more than a good idea to get a business off the ground. You need to know it will make money – and you need to convince investors and lenders of the same thing. Your accountant can do that for you.

They’ll help test your idea, identify your startup and operating costs, and create credible revenue forecasts. They also know which lenders are playing ball at any one time, so you can approach the right people for finance. Not only that but they’ll help work on your pitch, so you’re ready to impress those lenders, but more of that later.

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2) Business Strategy

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus when there are so many moving parts in a business.  Get connected with your accountant- they can help you figure out what’s important.

They should work with you to set smart goals – personal, professional and financial – then give you tools to measure your progress. You’ll end up with a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how your business is doing. At Connex- we can measure these on an ongoing basis using online accounting software and we set up dashboards that allow you to check your KPIs at any time of the day or night. And if things aren’t going as planned, what does an accountant do then? They’ll help you troubleshoot the issues, test solutions, and reset your KPIs as needed.

3. Managing Cash Flow

Even highly profitable businesses can fail because they run out of money at the wrong moment and suddenly can’t afford to pay suppliers or staff.  Your accountant will know that revenue ebbs and flows, and that costs do the same. Predicting the effect on cash flow allows the business to come up with strategies to manage the situation. Your accountant can help organise cash reserves and come up with a spending plan that ensures there’s always money in the bank.

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4. Listen and support

Being in business is tough and can sometimes be lonely. When things seem too hard, and you start thinking about the 9 to 5 you left behind, a good accountant can keep you on the straight and narrow. Your accountant should know how much your business means to you and will help you cope with stress by breaking down big business problems into manageable parts. Get connected with your accountant and moral support should be part of the package.

5. Managing Debt

As we all know, there’s good debt and there’s bad debt. Your accountant should help you tell one from the other. They’ll find the least expensive borrowing strategies for your business – with the right mix of repayment flexibility and low interest. Need refinancing; a good accountant will help take care of that too.

By considering the numbers behind your business and looking at how your debt’s structured you can develop a specific strategy to deal with it. Accountants will also advise when spare cash should be used to pay back loans, and when it should be reinvested in the business

6. Chasing unpaid invoices

Unfortunately, unpaid invoices are a fact of business, even though cloud accounting software will generally help you get paid quicker. Chasing debtors is a distraction you don’t need, but you can’t afford to ignore the problem. Your accountant can create invoice systems that will send automatic reminders to customers when their bill is due and/or overdue.

If invoices remain unpaid after this, your accountant can help with arranging debt financing – where a business will buy your unpaid invoices from you and chase the payment themselves.

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7. Writing loan applications.

Successfully applying for a loan is a tricky mixture of art and science. A good accountant can do much more than just pulling together your numbers, they’ll help you create a compelling story.

Of course, lenders need to see solid financials and credible forecasts, but that’s just part of what you need to be successful. An accountant can tie it all together in a presentation that sells the wider vision for your business. Your accountant can arm you with graphs and charts that visualise the numbers – allowing your lender to literally see the opportunity. Good accountants will use powerful forecasting and financial modelling tools that loan officers trust.

8. Smart Budgeting

Getting budgeting right can take up a lot of your time and energy. Many businesses, therefore, end up working off a vague set of numbers that are full of assumptions and estimates. Your accountant can help you produce a rigorous, accurate budget that gives you real confidence. You’ll know the real cost of doing business. You’ll know how much money you can reinvest. And you’ll know what you can pay yourself.

9. HR headaches

Small business often can’t afford the luxury of having an in-house HR department. Need additional staff, but not sure where to start? What can an accountant do to assist with your human resources?

  • Making sure you can afford the costs of hiring, training and paying an employee.
  • Figuring out what sort of staff will benefit the business most. Do you need to beef up the marketing department? Or is a new technician what the business needs to grow?
  • Making sure you are compliant with government legislation around payroll, paperwork and tax.

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10. Setting up your online accounting software

A good accountant with access to online accounting software (Like us at Connex 🙂 ) will automate a lot of your business’s accounting so that data from sales and expenses flows directly into your accounts.  Setting up invoicing systems that tell you what’s has and what hasn’t been paid can help improve cash flow. Smart software will even send reminder emails to clients who haven’t paid so you don’t have to.

There are dozens of other automated systems that your accountant can implement for you, such as:

  • mobile online accounting apps  (like Xero, Quickbooks and Sage One) that allow you to manage your finances from the road
  • automated accounts payable, so you’re always on top of expenses
  • KPI dashboards and tracking, so you can check overall business performance 24/7
  • cash flow dashboards, so you always know where you stand

11. Stock Management

Spending too much on storage? Losing money writing off old or damaged goods? Missing out on revenue because you sometimes run out of stock? Smart stock management is critical to doing good business

By identifying the cost of holding stock, accountants can create strategies to save some of that money. Accurately reviewing sales data to help predict stock needs, so you can place accurate orders. A tech-savvy account can even set up software that tracks stock levels and auto-orders items as they run low…. Welcome to the future!

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12. Drive productivity and efficiency

Growing your business? Costs can climb quickly with things like more staff, higher gas and electric bills and bigger IT infrastructure.

If you don’t have the time or expertise took look at these costs strategically that’s something an accountant can do for you. Identify unnecessary costs in your business and developing more efficient ways of working can significantly reduce overheads. Could you work smarter with what you’ve already got?

13. Utilising Technology.

Online accounting software and the apps that go with it can automate a lot of the things you do manually and an accountant can take away those distractions by setting up affordable software for things like:

  • invoicing
  • payroll
  • customer relationship management
  • point of sale
  • expenses
  • bids & proposals

14. Being your most trusted advisor

In the past few years, industry research has consistently shown that small business owners consistently view their accountant as their most trusted business advisor. Online accounting technology that makes business owners and their accountant ever more connected will only reinforce this notion. Check out or case studies section to see what our clients say about us 🙂

Accountants- making business better 🙂

If your current accountant is doing the same old compliance work for you every year, you will be amazed at the difference a top accountant can make. They can bring a whole load of extra capability and insight into your business.

So to summarise the question what does an accountant do, ultimately it can be whatever you need. If your accountant can’t solve your business problem themselves, you can be sure they’ll know someone who can.

You should be able to have very frank conversations with your accountant so find somebody you like and can go and see.

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