When you run a small to medium business, your accountant plays an important role. As well as helping you stay on top of your BAS and tax obligations, your accountant should be able to help you create a plan to grow your profits and secure the future of your business.
If you do not feel as though your accountant is giving you the right guidance to optimize your financial performance and financial position, you may want to consider changing accountants. You can change accountants at any stage during the financial year.
Why change to another small business accountant?
Your accountant plays such an important role in your business and should be working with you on the below:
- Business forecasting – To help you plan ahead and create budgets and cash flow forecasts
- Profit dissection – By examining your revenue streams, your accountant can identify where to focus on increased income
- Expense analysis – Break down the costs of running your business to see where you can potentially save money
- Asset advice – Which areas of the business should you spend money on and how can you make your assets work for you?
- Liability analysis – What parts of your business are holding you back financially?
- Regular financial health checks – A good accountant will keep in touch with you throughout the year, not only at tax time, to make sure you are on a budget and on track to achieve your goals
- Education – To allow you to clearly understand what is going on with your numbers
- Future planning – You and your accountant should work towards forming a strategy for the business in the long term, including selling the business or winding it down so you can retire
If your accountant is not covering the points in the above table, it is likely there are a number of areas where your business could be improved financially. In this case, it is a good idea to consider a new accountant.
Before you look for a new accountant, take the time to do some research. As well as meeting the above criteria in terms of the day to day management of your finances, there are some things to ask yourself about what you want from your accountant:
- Communication requirements – Do you expect your accountant to respond to your calls quickly?
- Expertise – are there areas of your business you need your accountant to focus on?
- Reliability – will your new accountant meet deadlines for deliverables?
- Technology – does your accountant use software which will integrate easily with your systems?
- Values – what are the values of the accountant? Are they aligned to yours?
How to switch small business accountant
Before you move to a new provider, ideally you want to tie up all your loose ends with your current accountant.
Select your new accountant before you move on as they will need to communicate with your previous accountant.
From there, it is time to break the news. You may choose to give your current accountant a call and explain that you're moving on. If they are professional they will part with you on good terms and wish you all the best.
It is the responsibility of your new accountant to get in touch with your previous accountant to request a transfer of your financial information. In Australia, it is ethical best practice for your old accountant to comply and hand over the information.
Once your new accountant has your figures and financial statements, make an appointment for the both of you to review your business. Now is the time to explain your trouble points. Talk about your business and personal goals so your accountant has a clear picture of what you are striving for.
Starting a relationship with a new small business accountant can feel daunting, particularly if you know your finances are not in the best shape. However, there's no time like the present to get on the right track and set yourself up for financial success in the future.