Running a small business is hard. While some decisions might be easy, there are so many times when it feels like just a little bit of advice from someone who has been there before would save a lot of time and hassle.
We all have preconceived notions about what folks do and their roles in our lives. That said, those preconceived notions can lead to one of the biggest blindspots for you as a small business owner amd it just might be your accountant. What do we mean. Well, which of these statements is true?
My accountant is just there to do my taxes.
My accountant doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a business owner.
My accountant should only prepare my financial statements.
The answer? NONE OF THEM. Here’s why the best advice you get this year for your small business might be from your accountant – and where you can find one that will fit your business plans. After all, not all accountants are built the same.
You might think that an accountant has a fairly myopic view of your business, but it’s just not true. In fact, they might have an even bigger picture view than you do! The average accountant has worked with hundreds to thousands of businesses over the course of their career. They’ve also seen the results of those businesses’ decision-making processes. Your accountant has seen the success stories – and they’ve seen the cautionary tales. So if you have a question about something like a purchase, growth, or even profitability – they should be one of the first calls on your list.
Specialization within your industry matters
Accounting firms often don't specialize in small businesses. Often they’re specializing in fields like construction, manufacturing or other large organizations that need help with handling complex accounting transactions or annual audits. So if you’re looking for an accountant who has the experience to do a good job, you’re going to want to make sure that they’re specialized in your field.
At Kaizen, we’re a relationship-based company, and many of our accountants specialize in areas that are linked to the professional relationships they’ve forged. Take the automotive repair industry, for example. Many of our clients are in this business, and as such we have a large knowledge base on what might be helpful for them so that we can help prevent bad decisions. Such as, just because you have the extra money, is buying another truck ACTUALLY good for your business?
A good accountant will look at your situation from a business perspective first. They’re the number one person inside your business, and when you report correctly to them, they’ll be able to help you by putting numbers behind the decision making process within your business.
The fact is, there just aren’t that many folks in a business owner’s life that have both the inside knowledge and experience to think pragmatically. Your accountant is one of the few people with intimate knowledge of your money flow AND ALSO wants you to succeed as a business.
Getting started matters
Maybe the biggest advice an accountant can help with? Getting going on projects that will lead to growth! Most owners already know there is a problem with their business, but they just don’t know where to start. Talking with an accountant will help you understand where the actual problem lies. Need an example? Let’s talk about one of our clients.
This client works in the automotive repair industry, but their pricing wasn’t leading to the profitability they needed to succeed. After reviewing their parts pricing matrix with us, we realized that it was as simple as them not pricing their parts high enough. The client was apprehensive because he thought that his clients would look up the prices for parts listed online, and that he’d lose business.
We were able to show him that this wouldn’t be true. In fact, his shop services a high volume of truck drivers and a truck driver loses an infinite amount of money when their truck isn’t on the road. Getting their truck on the road is way more important than the price of an individual part. The auto repair shop owner was trying to rationalize a decision they made a long time ago with fear and bad numbers. We talked it over, changed it, and they never looked back.
Find an accountant who works with you
Your accountant shouldn’t just be someone you email once a year. If you’re looking for guidance, advice, or just want a more thorough approach to your accounting, then we’d encourage you to seek out someone who can help. Remember, there aren’t many people who can relate to your position in life as a business owner, it’s invaluable to find someone who can. We'll help you find that person today.