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Most people start a business because they have a passion for a product, a gap in the market or they believe in their business idea. But many small businesses or sole traders have little experience with accountancy and so at some point will look for support with their financial decisions. This is where your firm comes in.
So how do you tailor your accounting and bookkeeping service for small businesses? This article will cover:
- ‘Setting up’ support
- Making business operations run smoother
- Driving growth
- Demystifying tax
- Make savings across the business
‘Setting up’ support
Early on in a business journey, an accountant can assist with managing start-up costs so that the business can afford to start trading. This can range from pulling together the total costs of equipment, recommending how to manage stock levels and finding the right insurances they will need. In the early stages, small businesses may also need their accountant to produce realistic revenue forecasts and other financial projections for their business plan.
An accountant can also help a small business secure investment or funding. Accounting firms may have suitable contacts so that small business owners can meet the right lenders for their companies.
Accounting firms may also help on the pitch or business plan for securing investment. They will know exactly what financial details will impress potential investors and be able to pull together the numbers in a compelling way that can be understood. Accounts can then help a business owner structure their presentation to be the best it can be to convince potential investors to commit.
Making business operations run smoother
An accountant that is tailored to a small business will be able to identify the appropriate software for their client’s needs and budget. Not only will software automate many aspects of accounting and bookkeeping, but an accountant’s advice on this will save the business owner spending what little time they have on looking at software that they don’t know or understand.
Accountants often plot current and future cash flow and revenue for businesses, so that a busy business owner doesn’t have to spend their time on unfamiliar calculations. This will be a big part of an accountant’s role for a small business because cash flow difficulties can make or break a new company, and identifying cash flow issues early means the owner and the accountant can work together to make plans to avoid any struggles before they happen.
An accountant can also support with strategic planning and setting goals for the company. This service would involve giving business owners the tools to be able to measure their progress, as well as a set of key performance indicators (KPI’s) to track.
Offering debt management services would be especially useful for small businesses, such as a loan or credit card the small company client has. Similarly, the firm could also manage the client’s debtors. Chasing up the unpaid invoices and organising any debt financing would be a very valuable service for a small business so that the sole trader can be paid for their hard work and get on with growing their sales.
Identifying growth opportunities as a service is where an accountant can truly add value to a small business. Using your knowledge and skills as an accountant to highlight areas that could grow the total revenue and allow the business to scale up would be a highly coveted service for a small company to learn from. Similarly, accountants could identify areas which perhaps are holding a business back from growing and offer advice on what to do about them.
Accountants could also help with strategic hiring. This would help a small business identify which areas would benefit most from an employee to allow the business to meet its goals. The accountant would then prove if the client business can afford to hire, train and pay the employee, and support with the government paperwork involved in hiring staff which the business owner may not be familiar with.
Many small business owners may have zero experience in keeping reliable books, and so this is one of the main reasons they may hire an accounting firm for support.
Business owners may also have little knowledge of accounting terms and bookkeeping words, and the accounting firm could help them navigate the unfamiliar lexicon. It would also be extremely useful to small business owners to know what they can expense when it comes to their tax Self Assessment, as well as having their receipts and expenses managed effectively for them.
An accountant will also be there every step of the way when it comes to completing a self-assessment for a small business. They will lay out exactly what proof a business may need to supply in order to have a seamless tax assessment and ensure the business won’t pay any more tax than they need to.
Make savings across the business
Too little stock means a small business could be losing out on revenue, and too much may mean they are spending too much on storage. A useful accounting service would be to offer invaluable insight on effective stock management for businesses to help them run more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Accountants could provide smart savings in small businesses when it comes to bills like WiFi and gas/electric at a workplace, as well as software needs. They should know where to get the best deals for the business’ needs and budget.
Collaborate with your clients better with Countingup
You can save your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software. It’s built specifically to help you manage small business (self-employed and sole trader) clients. Not only is it a cost-effective platform for them, but it’s simple for your firm to work from too.
The app automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for your clients so they can focus on running their business—and send you accurate, structured data to work with. With instant invoicing, automatic expense categorisation and cash flow insights, your clients will be able to confidently keep accurate daily bookkeeping records.
Countingup’s accounting software is MTD-compatible and full of features for you to review and manage client accounts efficiently, with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.