5 Unusual Roles of an Accountant
This may sound familiar…
You’ve started a business and the first ‘tax period’ comes around. So you head off to your tax accountant with your shoe box full of receipts. The tax accountant tells you to see a bookkeeper to get your books in order so you’re less overwhelmed next tax year.
Or you may have a bookkeeper or financial administration person doing the books for you. So your books are in order. You’ve covered all your financial compliance tasks. It’s a great starting point, but there is more that accountants can do for your business.
Below are some unusual examples!
>>THE DOCTORS OF THE BUSINESS ARENA
Diagnosing issues, treating symptoms and prescribing a plan for improving your business’ financial health. If picked up early enough, they can assist in avoiding major issues. Have you ever felt that your too busy but can’t afford another staff member? Your sales volume is high, but you still aren’t making much profit or paying yourself as much as you’d like? These are symptoms that need to be addressed.
Teaching business owners simple methods to track key ‘measurables’, manage cash flow and basic calculations for pricing, costing and profit margins. If numbers scare you or it feels like everyone understands financial concepts you don’t. Then some accountants can help fill in the financial knowledge and financial acumen gaps.
Numbers are the language of business. Some accountants and business analysts can take ‘numbers’ and translate them into a story around the health of your business. Or they can take your business and lifestyle goals and translate them into the ‘numbers’ that required to live those goals. When you understand what your business financials are telling you, you become more confident in your financial decision making, financial strategy and future planning. Solutions for questions such as ‘Should we invest in more product?’, ‘Am I pricing this product to make a good margin?’ or ‘Can we afford another staff member?’ become much easier to decide.
>>FINANCIAL SIDE-KICK OR GUIDE
Many business owners are overwhelmed by making every financial decision on their own. The weight of making big decisions can be exhausting, causing sleepless nights and stress. Having a second set of eyes look over the figures or having someone do the difficult calculations or comparisons for a project are exactly what accountants can do for you.
Your business model is the mechanism of how your structure your business.
Who do you plan to serve?
What will you sell them?
How much will you sell it for?
How will you deliver this product or service?
I also like to add another element to business models if you own your own business. And this is your lifestyle. Why own your own business but be working yourself to the ground? Or not paying yourself enough of a wage? Choosing revenue streams that fit within how you want to earn money and live also matter. Accountants can help you structure your income streams, type of offering and financial systems and strategies to fit into the big picture of your life. I call this your Values-based Business Lifestyle Model. And it takes conscious decisions around your business, lifestyle and income to build this up in a way that’s right for you.
FINDING THE RIGHT FINANCIAL SUPPORT TEAM
In addition to the different roles accountants take on, they also have varying specialities. Some are tax advisors, some accountants do bookkeeping, other are business or profit strategists, reporting analysts, auditors or they work in an investigative or forensic capacity.
Reflect on the different finance tasks your business requires, if you’re not sure what you should be doing check out some suggestions here. And consider what is the ideal financial team for you and your business to financially thrive.
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