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Top 5 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Accountant

by Shawanda Greene

calculatorThe following is a guest post from a You Have More Than You Think partner.

As small businesses grow, the need to hire an accountant becomes inevitable but they really shouldn’t be seen as a costly necessity. If you ask the right questions and request the right services an accountant could, in fact should, make your business more profitable by saving you both time and money.

1. Online Accounting

The whole world is online but for some draconian reason a lot of people have been reluctant to move away from traditional ink’n’paper accounting. By keeping your records electronically, bearing in mind it always a good idea to have hard copies for yourself, you can transfer all the information your accountant needs at the click of a mouse. This saves money on stationary, paper, envelopes and stamps while at the same time being more efficient and environmentally friendly; so money, time and karma saved.

2. Share Information

You must share everything with your accountant to get the best service. Many small business owners are reluctant to share all their financial information for a number of reasons but usually it is because they are embarrassed if their figures don’t match up to their ambition. My advice: get over it. Your accountant needs the tools to work with; remember your business is their business.

3. Assess Your Needs

Your accountant will offer you a number of accounting services and not all of them may be necessary to your business requirements; so make sure you are not paying for services you do not need. Figure out what you, or any of your employees, can do with regards to accounting and weigh up the cost of spending your time doing them. If you can do these chores efficiently enough that you are spending fewer business hours in relation to what it would cost to hire an accountant then do them yourself. Many accountants charge per the hour or offer part-time assistance; so figure out exactly what you need and only pay for that.

4. Shop Around

Ask your firm for a projection of accountant services and charges for the following year, most should be able to provide this service. If you shop around and find a better deal then let your accountant know about it, they may throw in some extra help or a discount to sweeten the deal.

5. Maintain a Positive Working Relationship

Many people feel intimidated by their accountants and it shouldn’t be this way, the relationship between yourself and your accountant should be a positive one. If you are happy with them and vice versa you know the best job for both of you will be getting done.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

callmewhatyouwantevencheap May 17, 2012 at 8:40 AM

I never thought of getting an Accountant online. I am assuming they would be cheaper. Since we're talking business I would prefer to look them in the eye. But good tips!

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iheartbudgets May 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM

As a tax accountant, I do agree with the above tips. Especially number 2! I am NOT the IRS and am not trying to get them in trouble. In fact, I am the opposite. I need my clients to share everything so that I can protect them from the big,bad IRS and find as many deductions as possible. Thanks for sharing this!
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shopping2saving May 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

My mom is an accountant! I think she would really appreciate this post :)
My recent post When a Recipe for Success Fails

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Lance@MoneyLife&More May 17, 2012 at 7:53 PM

As an ex public accountant I agree with all of these tips. Also, be organized, the more organized you are the faster we can get through your information and the less we have to charge you :)
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