Benchmark Business Group

Leverage Your Accountant

June 17, 2013

Sue Blattner, Blattner Accounting Services

Business owners need to see their accountants as partners.  Over the years she’s seen clients that want to abdicate their financials, but that often leads to losing money.  Sue noted that even if they don’t like financials business owners need to be aware of the numbers so that they have control over their business.  To create a relationship with an accountant you should:

  1. Schedule a review for 4 months prior to the end of the year to review and make changes according to a tax strategy

  2. Events can happen when a business owner should contact their accountant, but do not.  For instance, many business owners without a strong relationship with an accountant will try to handle IRS communications by themselves. Sometimes even the IRS makes mistakes, but once a business owner has paid, it can be difficult to recollect the penalties once a mistake has been proven.  To avoid this, contact your accountant when certain events happen such as:
    • Uncertain about what you need to personally take from the business and your break-even point
    • working with an investment broker
    • hiring staff
    • there is a concern about cash flow
    • change in the type of business you are in
    • expanding the business
    • the economy changes
    • you receive communication from the government
    • uncertain about how to document expenses
    • uncertain about the type of expenses to document

  3. Trust your accountant enough to share all information.  Often times business owners will hold back information because they are embarrassed of either the situation they are in or because they don’t fully understand their financials.  Without that trust to share everything, the accountant is providing expertise without knowing the true picture.  This can lead to missed opportunities for the business owner. 

  4. Expect your accountant to help educate you on strategies and how to analyze the numbers.

  5. Be prepared to ask certain questions of your accountant.
    • What are your qualifications?
    • What services do you provide?
    • How long have you been in business?
    • At what point can you no longer service my business and what happens then?

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  6. When it comes to documentation for setting up a business, have as many of the following as possible:
    • Articles of Incorporation
    • State documentation
    • Paperwork for ID numbers
    • Income Statements (Preferably 2 to 3 years’ worth)
    • Current Balance Sheet
    • Past Tax Returns

  7. Be prepared to establish and open and trusting relationship.

This resource is a part of our series on Leveraging Professional Services in your business. Please be sure to read the entire month's focus:

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