Running your own business is a complicated affair with a wide range of different “moving parts” to concern yourself with, but many people don’t realize how many of them ultimately lead back to your finances until it’s far too late.
A large part of your ability to be successful in the long-term will ultimately come down to the rate at which you expand. Grow your business too quickly and you might spread yourself too thin. Grow too slowly and you’ll be passing up opportunities that are rightfully yours, leaving a lot of money on the table at the same time. Your control over your finances will dictate whether you’re able to strike that perfect balance the way you need to.
Marketing, paying vendors, paying employees, managing client relationships – all of it depends on the quality of your bookkeeping. A large part of your success will ultimately come down to your ability to identify when the time is right to stop doing things yourself and bring a professional accounting on board. To do this, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The Warning Signs You Need to Know
Intuit recently released a survey outlining the state of small business accounting in the United States. The results are very telling in terms of when people should bring an accounting professional on board – and what the consequences are of inaction.
Asset tracking, for example, is something that you may not immediately think impacts your bookkeeping, but it does in a fairly significant way. Ghost assets are fixed assets that have either been rendered unusable or are physically missing. However, “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply in this case – they still count toward a business’s tax and insurance liability, thus making it difficult to properly reconcile their books every year.
Of the business owners who responded to Intuit’s survey, 74% indicated that they didn’t understand this, and 49% said that they didn’t even know what ghost assets were in the first place. If you are among those numbers, congratulations on arriving at one of the biggest indicators that you need to bring a financial professional into your business (and also that you’ll likely want to conduct inventory on a regular schedule moving forward).
Other signs that the time is right to bring a accounting professional on board ultimately come down to the most pressing financial issues that most businesses face. 51% of people who responded to Intuit’s survey said that accounts receivable and collections were their most significant business challenge. 44% said that cash flow was always something they were concerned about, and getting a better handle on “money in vs. money out” was always a top priority.
Cash flow troubles are the number one reason why most small businesses fail within the first four years of existence.
Other pressing issues included properly managing paperwork on a regular basis, accurately closing the books each month, and managing payroll. The major thing to understand is that an accounting professional will be able to help with ALL of these things, taking the stress off your plate so that you can focus simply on running your business like you should be. If ANY of these things are ones that keep you awake every night, or you feel these issues are significantly affecting your ability to grow and evolve, guess what? It’s time to contact an accounting professional to get help.
Never Underestimate the Power of Trust
Recently, small business owners responded to a survey outlining all of their most pressing accounting issues. When asked to rank the professionals that they worked with on a regular basis in the order of importance, these business leaders overwhelmingly agreed that accounting experts were one of the single most valuable assets they had. They outranked attorneys, insurance agents, technology firms and even staffing services.
Business leaders know that much of what they’re trying to do each day, along with what they hope to be able to accomplish in the future, would be impossible without the stable foundation that only an accounting professional can provide.
When It Comes to Accounting, Knowledge Is Power
It’s important to remember what may be the single most important piece of advice for small business owners when it comes to accounting: It is far, far cheaper to hire an accounting professional today before things get out of hand tomorrow.
Think about it this way: A large part of the reason why you got where you are today is because you took the initiative and started to do things for yourself. You have a “can do” attitude that just won’t quit, and you’ve built something incredibly successful from the ground up as a result. But there are certain situations where you cannot let pride get in the way of making the right decision, and accounting is absolutely one of them.
You already have a full-time job: running your business. You don’t have the time to take on another one, let alone the expertise to guarantee that you’re making the best decisions at all times. Yet this is exactly what business accounting is – a heavily specialized, full-time job that requires a careful hand and attention to detail that is second to none.
Bringing in an accounting professional will not only help make sure that your business has cleaner books and other records, but it will also significantly reduce the chance that you’ll get hit with penalties for things like late taxes and allow you to be more successful. These types of benefits, to say nothing of the peace of mind that only comes with knowing your accounting is taken care of, are things that you literally cannot put a price on.
If you have any questions about hiring an accountant for your small business, contact our office today.
Source: ClientWhys, August, 2017
If you have questions about starting, growing, protecting, understanding business taxes, or selling your small business, please contact us. As a CPA, Certified Business Advisor, Small Business Consultant, Certified Business Profit Consultant, and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, we specialize in working with small business owners and provide tax, accounting, financial analysis, business planning, and small business advisory services. For more information, call (727) 391-7373 or else visit us on the web at http://www.LindaStortzCPA.com.