Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Figuring out how to optimise time management and work smart is vital for SME owners, particularly those of us who, in the current climate, are constantly juggling countless tasks. Outsourcing key tasks to others with expertise is often the best way to allow you to focus on what really matters to you, whether it’s strategies to grow your business; or to free up time to allow a better work-life balance, and save not only time, but in turn, money.
Enter the Accountant! For most small business owners their true passion lies in their business subject matter. Many entrepreneurs don’t want to have to worry about finance, and some simply aren’t interested in numbers; whether it’s because they find them uninteresting or they struggle to understand the intricacies of a Balance Sheet. Some would like to learn more but haven’t found the right way to do it yet.
What’s the difference?
For those who’d rather not spend their valuable time on updating their monthly accounts, or perhaps don’t want the bother of learning to wade through an Accounting software program, hiring a Bookkeeper is the perfect solution. They can perform any number of tasks such as recording transactions, sending invoices, making payments, managing accounts, and preparing financial statements. Bookkeeping and Accounting are similar, but bookkeeping lays the basis for the accounting process—accounting focuses more on analysing the data that bookkeeping merely collects.
For more specialist work such as tax returns, financial analysis, and compliance you could opt for a Qualified Chartered Accountant. They have the detailed knowledge required when it comes to those important tasks. You could choose to take care of your own bookkeeping and hire an Accountant to do the trickier stuff, or if you really want to save time have them do everything. Or just a selection! A bit like pick ‘n’ mix, it’s a service that can be tailored to whatever your requirements are, rather than a ‘one size fits all’.
But it’s not just about the ‘bean counting’! Yes, that stuff’s important, but Practice Accountants need to evolve into something much more synergistic. Supporting clients in different ways during the various growth stages of their business – helping clients to understand Financial reports if numbers just aren’t their ‘thing’, helping contribute towards a business plan, and measuring performance on a regular basis, as well as keeping them legit! These are some of the things you should be able to seek help from your Accountant for these days.
“I never hear from them”
It’s frustrating when I hear that people don’t feel they are getting the support they need from their Accountants, and having spent more than 20 years in industry, working with many people from different backgrounds and at different levels, with greatly varying levels of Finance knowledge, I know how daunting it can be for someone who feels that they don’t understand something and can’t ask questions for fear of appearing silly.
“I don’t like to ask questions”
When I worked in one particular multinational, I lost count of the amount of times a non-finance budget holder would say “Can I ask a stupid question?” The truth is that the questions were never stupid, and the answers always empowered that budget holder, through helping them to better understand their figures and manage them more successfully as a result.
This is absolutely key when it comes to moving a business forward (think Dragon’s Den!).
These days, business owners need so much more from their Accountant than the obligatory email at year end and a few questions about their expenditure. They need insight into their accounts from someone approachable who can explain things in a straightforward manner, reporting for decision making, so they can see how their business is performing; as well as support with how to grow their business and maximise their profit. All that as well as someone to take the pain of statutory accounting away so they can focus on what matters to them, of course…
Recent events have challenged almost everyone to find new ways of working and make full use of support systems around them in order to become more flexible whilst still maintaining efficiency. It’s made me realise all the more how important it is to have a good support system, and experts on hand to help us manage the things that perhaps don’t come naturally, and how invaluable that network can be when we’re stretched.
“It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we’re in it together”.