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Five questions all small business owners should ask their accountant

For many small business owners dealing with an accountant can seem an expensive task, useful only for getting the accounts finalised and helping with tax compliance. However, while a bad accountant could cost you much needed money, a good one could save your business cash in ways you may not have considered.

Rather than focusing on getting the sums done, if you present your accountant with neat and tidy company books, they will have more time to show you how to make your money work for you.  Whether you’re saving for retirement or simply want to make your business more efficient, an accountant can help you achieve your goals.

Here are a few talking points to help you get the most from your next meeting with the accountant.

What am I entitled to that I don’t know about?

As a small business owner, it’s likely that you are not familiar with the intricacies of the British tax system so how can you be sure you are claiming everything your business is entitled to? What are your National Insurance obligations, for example, are you claiming the correct rebates? Are there other Government grants or schemes that you could apply for? Your accountant is well-placed to advise you on the most recent developments that could benefit your business financially.

How can I make my business more efficient?

At Ozlop we regularly speak to business owners who are happy with the size of their business but want to make more money from it. While there is much you can do to help yourself, an accountant can take an objective view of the books to give you some real insight on your cashflow situation, so you can see where costs are too high, for instance, or whether you need to raise your prices. 

How can I save for retirement?

According to recent Government figures only 25 percent of self-employed individuals aged 60 to 64 save for their retirement, compared with 63 percent of those who are employed. The problem is that many business owners see their business as their pension so don’t consider saving in a separate pot. What happens if the value of your business suddenly plummets? Would you be able to live comfortably through retirement?

Rather than relying solely on your business, an accountant will be able to guide you through the maze of pensions available and help you choose the most tax efficient method of saving for retirement.

How can I make use of your network?

Having a good relationship with your accountant could mean you are able to leverage their contacts for the benefit of your business. Whether this means winning new customers on the back of a referral or an insurance deal that only your accountant can access, look for ways to make the most of this commercial relationship by asking your accountant how your business can help them.

What value are you adding to my business?

Finally, as with any other business cost it is important that you keep on top of the accountancy fees so you can see where they are adding value to your business. Measuring the performance of your accountant is an ongoing process, but the general rule is that the money they save your business should cover the accountancy fees.

If you’re concerned that you’re not getting the most from your accountant, Ozlop can help. We work with business owners who have limited time for business admin by doing the bulk of the bookkeeping for them. That means when it comes to meeting the accountant you can be confident that your books are good shape leaving you to focus on getting the best value from them.

If you want to know more then please do get in touch.

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