Birmingham Businesses Could Better Understand the Changes in Accountancy Services
Our guide to harnessing the potential of accounting options was featured in this month’s issue of Chamberlink, from the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. Read below, or click here for the full article in Chamberlink.
Businesses need to harness the potential of the changing face of accountancy
Engaging the services of an accountancy firm is something businesses of all sizes tend to do at some point. Usually, this is to carry out the mandatory functions that all businesses are required to by duty – such as tax returns, VAT compliance and payroll services, to name the most common accountancy services.
The accountancy firm has become the necessary evil for many small businesses, there to carry out obligatory duties. In our experience, we find business owners can be reluctant to turn to the accountant for advice and guidance around business plans, finance sources and options or how they can identify opportunities to aid further business growth – largely due to fear of the meter running! But accountancy services have changed, and businesses need to wake up to the benefits that a higher level of involvement with their accountant can bring.
There are several reasons why it’s good to talk with your accountant (we may not be renowned for our conversation skills – but we really can be a friendly bunch!). Firstly, finding out about any additional services offered and how they might help with business operations and growth is key, as there are often options for which the benefits or potential for business growth outweigh the cost.
Let your accountant identify the blind spot
Having an open dialogue with your accountant means that they are abreast of your business on an on-going basis, rather than getting a snapshot at the end of the tax year when it comes to submitting the accounts. Being informed of how the business is performing – by regularly reviewing and monitoring cash flow, forecasting and budgeting – means that any potential issues can be identified and dealt with quickly, avoiding potential disaster. Conversely, any opportunities can be identified, as when running a business, particularly in the case of small businesses, it can be difficult to take a step back and see the bigger picture. There’s always a blind spot, and as a result, opportunities that are ripe for the taking may not be apparent and therefore get missed.
Many accountancy firms now offer fixed-fee packages or solutions that can offer a higher level of support to firms, which can be capitalised on during periods of planned growth or seasonal fluctuations, where advice and guidance on finance could be required. There are usually other benefits of these packaged solutions that can easily negate the cost, and make it an option that is well worth the investment.
Many business owners may opt for financial checks when dealing with new customers or suppliers, to ensure there are no underlying problems that could be of detriment to the business. However, many will conduct an initial check and then forget about it. It is important to see financial checks as an on-going task, not a one-off activity. A business that seems perfectly financially stable at one point in time may not be in the future. Monitoring the financial situation of customers and suppliers is great way to protect a business from issues arising from non-payment or a supplier failure. Business owners should speak to their accountant about the protection services or financial checks offered to ensure they are adequate or have the capability to provide on-going monitoring.
Make the chore of business accounting a breeze
Managing expenses, tracking business mileage and generating and tracking invoices are the downside of running a business – taking up valuable time. Whilst there have long been accountancy software solutions to help reduce the burden, in recent years, a new generation of this software has emerged with many more features, enhanced security and the capability to perform these tasks on-the-go. Easy scan and save options for receipts, GPS tracking for accurate business mileage, generation of repeat invoices and reconciliation of bank accounts are all tasks that can now be carried out securely from a mobile device or desktop. The upside to utilising the available technology is that when it comes to filing the accounts at the end of the year, everything is in one place for the accountant to access easily.
Accountancy services have changed beyond recognition in the last few years, and business owners might just be surprised to learn how their business could benefit from exploring the options further, beyond the necessary functions. With a variety of benefits available, can businesses afford not to consider it?