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How an accountant made a huge difference to my business

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At the moment, we’re living through uncertain times – but for business owners, uncertainty tends to be a constant affair.

You might have set up your business to follow one of your passions. Perhaps you saw a gap in the market and decided to fill it with a product or service that adds value.

But running a company has its challenges – and none more so than dealing with business admin, especially if it’s not your speciality.

So who better to reach out to than the experts?

People who know what they’re doing.

People who can save you time.

People who can offer expertise that helps you with difficult topics, such as taxes, legislation and staying on top of the numbers.

That’s where accountants come in.

Occasionally, they’re viewed as people who can transform a shoebox of receipts and into something useful – but your accountant (if you have one) can work wonders for your business.

From filing tax returns to helping you manage your cash flow, and using insights to generate ideas for new revenue streams, they can be a valuable asset to your business.

And with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) presenting huge challenges for businesses, having experts offer advice around the numerous government financial support schemes will have been beneficial.

Celebrating the work of accountants

On 10 November, it’s International Accounting Day. To celebrate the work that accountants do, a number of business owners (and a couple of accountant advocates) have taken the time to say thank you.

Below, they salute the people who have helped them – either over the past few months or beforehand – with their business challenges.

Here’s what they have to say…

Ray Woolhead, Divine Gin

Ray is the owner of a drinks company based in Holmfirth, just outside Huddersfield, and he has some kind words for the accountants at Finlayson & Co

Jen Stirrup, Data Relish

“I don’t think my small business would have survived the pandemic if it was not for my accountant.

“We’ve suffered numerous problems with late payers, such as customers trying to rewrite purchase orders after they have been signed so they can save money, and it’s been harder to find projects during this time.

“Charlotte Little and the team from Pocket Accounts have provided wise advice to help steer us through the problems of negotiating late payments, and have helped us to deal with HMRC over VAT assistance during the pandemonium of the pandemic.

“Thank you Pocket Accounts!”

Steve Johnson, Graphite Web Solutions

“While I do my own accounts almost every week, and hence know I’m up to date, I’m a web designer not an accountant.

“Therefore, when it comes to doing my tax return, I leave it to Corinne at Graham Edwards because she knows what she’s doing.

“She knows the (ever changing) rules. And not only does she reduce my tax due, she also saves me hours of my own time and a whole load of stress – which is, frankly, priceless.”

Chris Downing

Chris, from Sage, has nothing but praise for Sam Mitcham at SJCM Accountancy

Jo Booth, Social Media Makes Sense

“Our accountant Kelly, of Greenhalgh Accountancy, has been an invaluable asset in growing my business since it was established six years ago.

“Apart from helping at the beginning with management reports, her support really came into its own at the beginning of lockdown.

“Unasked, she produced a report of all the government schemes, from the £10k grant to the furlough scheme, with the relevant links to where to go for help.

“This made it so much easier to decide what to do and weather the storm.

“We were lucky. Our business was able to keep going, and Kelly’s help was a huge asset in making that happen.

“And she managed all that working from home and teaching her children at the same time!”

Conrad Ford

“When I was building my first business, it was our finance director who told me about R&D Tax Credits, and a specialist tax accountant who helped with our claims.

“R&D Tax Credits are an HMRC tax break for innovation, and proved a crucial source of cash flow help in our early years.”

Steve Watmore

Steve, from Sage, has lots of good things to say about Claire Brown from MHA Tait Walker

Jeremy Corner, Blue Eyed Sun

“Blue Eyed Sun’s accountants at Merranti have been a fantastic help through the coronavirus period, advising on human resources, tax and business opportunities.

“They finished our accounts and tax returns early this year so we could track how we were doing.

“They even share some of our social media posts online, helping to generate more coverage of our new eco-friendly gift brand Green Magpie.

“It’s worth finding good accountants for your business as it saves you money in the long run.”

How to find an accountant and get value from them

If you have an accountant, no doubt those anecdotes are likely to resonate with you.

But if you don’t have one and need support with your business and your finances, finding an expert who can offer you excellent advice will be a good move.

Want to find an accountant for your business? Here are four tips to help you make it happen.

1. Speak to fellow business owners

Recommendations are a great way to find an accountant – especially one who is a good fit for you and your business.

Get in touch with other business owners (perhaps via networking events or even on the likes of LinkedIn), and people in your industry, to see who they are using and what benefits they’re seeing.

Opting for an accountant who understands your industry is important – they may have insights that can help your business thrive.

2. Create a shortlist of accountants and get talking

Once you’ve got a few names together, create a shortlist then reach out to your list of accountants.

Set up some calls and take the time to understand what they can offer your business and how they can provide value.

This will help you determine whether they understand your challenges and are a good fit for what you require.

3. Check out their fees

While you’re speaking to the accountants – or perusing their websites or marketing literature – make sure you check what their fees are.

Part of getting the right accountant for your business is knowing how much they’ll charge you for the work they’ll do.

But remember, cheaper isn’t always better.

You may find you pay a little more for the services of a particular accountant because they specialise in your industry or can offer the best value for your business and its needs.

4. Choose your accountant and start working with them

Finally, select an accountant and begin to work with them.

Make the most of your relationship by taking their advice on board, actioning their insights, and providing them with the details they require.

Using cloud accounting software will help. Doing so will mean your accountant can see what’s happening with your finances in real time and offer relevant, up-to-date advice that keeps your business moving forward.

Using software will also be beneficial for your record keeping and tracking of financial data. Understanding your numbers is key – and your accountant can help you with this.

Final thoughts

Accountants can make a real difference to businesses. It’s definitely worth having one as part of your team.

They shouldn’t just be seen as unsung heroes but as celebrated trusted advisers who can truly help businesses thrive.

How has your accountant made a difference to your business? Share your stories in the comments below.

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