5 ways accountants can help a small business

When you’re starting a new business venture, you might feel like you are pinching pennies everywhere. 

But when it comes to difficult financial decisions and complex calculations that are part of everyday business, an accountant may prove to be invaluable to you. An accountant is an expense that can save you time, money and stress in the long term. 

So how can an accountant help a small business? Every accountant’s service package and fees will differ, but here are five ways your business can benefit from their services:

  • Start-up management
  • Streamline running your business
  • Save you money in other places
  • Help grow your business
  • Simplify small business tax

1) Start-up management

If you find an accountant early in your business venture, they can help manage your start-up process. They will draw up realistic revenue projections and show you how to manage your cash flow. They can list all your start-up costs (like equipment and machinery you may need to start trading), recommend how to manage stock levels, and find the appropriate insurances you may need too.

An accountant can also help you find investment and help you prepare your pitch by sharing the best numbers to impress your potential investors. They can also manage the application for any business loans you need and share details of the best lenders to suit your business.

2) Save time running your business

An accountant can draw up a business strategy and budget with you, including the goals you want your business to reach, and show you how to measure your progress (using tools or agreeing on specific number targets). As part of this strategy, an accountant can suggest software that meets your needs, saving you from doing tasks manually.

An accountant will support the technical financial aspects of running your business, such as managing debt, business loan or company credit card you may have. Their duties include outlining the rise and fall of your cash flow and revenue. 

Cash flow difficulties can cause issues for any business, even very profitable companies. If you’re unable to buy stock or pay suppliers, you could block your business’s progress. But an accountant can monitor cash flow, create strategies in case of emergency and highlight any issues so you can make a plan before they become a problem. 

Small businesses can’t afford to let an invoice go unpaid for their work, and an accountant will be able to take this off your hands. Typically they will either organise software to automatically chase unpaid bills or chase it themselves for you. They can also manage any debt or invoice financing for your debtors, which you can read more about here.

3) Save you money in other places

Do you find yourself with too much stock, or too little? Or perhaps you are spending a lot on storing your inventory of products but are not shifting them as expected? 

An accountant can help you plan your stock levels, and help you make smarter decisions around storing stock, too. If you find that you have to get rid of batches of old stock or end up with damaged goods, they may also be able to help you plan strategies to deal with this extra inventory.

Accountants can be masters of efficiency, finding lots of ways to make smart savings in small businesses. They may be able to find the best deals to shave money off your electricity bills, your business Wifi or your storage facilities, as well as potentially negotiating with any suppliers on your behalf.

4) Help grow your business

An accountant can also support the creation of a thorough business plan by preparing the existing numbers you have as well as future predictions for finances. They will help you plot the important milestones you want your business to reach and help you understand what it takes to get there.

Accountants can be very valuable to a business at a later stage, too, by highlighting steps for you to grow the business. Here are some of the ways they might suggest you grow:

  • Identify new markets and audiences that you can sell to.
  • Finding new platforms you can sell on.
  • Adding a new product or service to your offering (diversification).
  • Pointing out areas to stop working on that take a lot of your time/resources but aren’t very profitable.
  • Opportunities to grow total revenue.
  • Spotting where hiring an employee would be beneficial (this is called strategic hiring, by identifying where another pair of hands would improve your profit most)

Based on your business goals, an accountant will have many areas they can investigate to find ways to scale up your business. If you are a one-person show, taking that step to hire another person can be intimidating. An accountant will figure out if your business can afford to hire, train and pay an employee, and manage the HMRC paperwork and insurance involved in finding staff.

5) Simplify small business tax

If you are new to running your own business, you might not be sure of exactly what you can claim as a business expense. An accountant will take on the admin involved in listing expenses, and claiming them back from your tax total when filling in the Self Assessment forms. They will also organise any paper receipts you have, potentially saving hours of your valuable time when it comes to tax season. 

When filling in your self-assessment, your accountant will be able to identify every form and piece of evidence you will need to complete the tax evaluation. They will ensure that your totals are correct and you won’t pay a penny more tax than you need. An accountant may even find some commonly missed expenses that you could use to shave a little more off your final tax bill.

Make accounting easy with Countingup

If you are running your business on your own, the Countingup app and business current account can help. 

The app has free built-in accounting software that automates the time-consuming aspects of bookkeeping and saves you hours of financial admin. You can also share your financial records with your accountant directly through the app, making it simple to manage your accounting for everyone.

Find out more here about how you can make your finances simple with your accountant and Countingup, and get back to doing the tasks that are most important to your business.