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Survival Hints for Small Business Blog

Issue 0034 Is your accountant your trusted adviser?

For many years, survey after survey of small/medium enterprises, has indicated that a majority of small/medium enterprises treated their accountant as their “trusted adviser”.  Is that how you rate your accountant?

Recently, a marketing/sales consultant indicated that he was quite surprised that this status has been attributed to accountants.

Accountants earnt the “trusted adviser” status over previous years because they were the professional person with whom a small/medium enterprise operator could have confidential discussions and receive guidance.

However, the business world is moving on.  Life is more challenging than what it used to be.  Is your accountant still your “trusted adviser”?Entrepreneur Program

Duties that can be performed

Does your accountant assist you in some of the key areas confronting small businesses today?

Management of Costs

According to the CCH survey conducted a couple of years ago, surveyed businesses have indicated that management of costs was their biggest problem.

Debtors’ Management

Showing you how to calculate debtors’ days outstanding and, more importantly, giving you advice on how debtors’ management might be improved.

Cashflow Management

Undoubtedly the biggest single issue confronting businesses in Australia.

Recently the ATO Commissioner indicated that 61% of the debt owing to the ATO was from small/medium enterprises, whereas the ATO Commissioner believes that the proportion of debt from small businesses in the total Australian scene for taxation should be less than 20%.  He indicated that this pointed to significant cashflow management problems for small businesses.

Succession Planning

Is succession a subject for which you’re receiving support from your accountant?

Succession doesn’t just apply to senior management or owners of the business, it also applies to virtually every position in the business.  Is someone being trained so they can perform someone else’s job?

Business Plans

Are you receiving help in the preparation of your business plan?  Do you have a business plan?  Business plans are very important for businesses.  They’re like “maps for tourists”.  If you don’t know where you’re planning to go, how are you going to know when you get there?  More importantly, how are you going to know that you’ve strayed off your preferred path and need to take corrective action to get back on to your pre-determined planning strategy?

Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

The PPSR has certainly caused major problems for some small businesses and large businesses.  Unfortunately, no one will know whether they are going to be caught by this legislation until someone with whom they have close business dealings (eg stock stored on their premises, plant and equipment on sites that they own, owed a considerable amount of money in the debtors’ ledger) and that business an insolvency event.

Your accountant should be assisting you to review your systems and give you advice as to which customers and which transactions you should be registering on the PPSR, to help safeguard your business assets.

Raising Capital

Many of you are looking to raise capital from Business Angels.  Is your accountant assisting you in that task?These are some of the duties accountants should be performing for their small/medium enterprise clients, if they’re going to be truly performing the “trusted adviser” role that has been traditionally attributed to them.

Accountants can assist

If you would like to talk to an accountant who is offering these types of services, we have a group of accountants throughout Australia who are committed to offering business advisory services for small/medium enterprises and, thus, they can assist you in developing your business, so that value would be added.

We invite you to utilise the "Find an Accountant/Adviser".  Simply enter in your postcode and the Find an Accountant/Adviser directory will identify accountants located in or near your postcode, who are able to supply a range of business advisory services, including the types of services mentioned in this article.

Whilst visiting ESS Small Business, you will be able to view a range of articles, papers and templates to assist you in your small/medium enterprise journey, including our complimentary article, "Planning Your Business - Small Businesses".  To obtain a copy of this article, click below.

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