How small businesses can make the most out of their accountants this year

accountants

Source: Unsplash/Scott Graham

With this year being a somewhat ‘return to normal’ as we learn to live with COVID-19, I’ve compiled some trends and tips to help small businesses understand some of the key issues to keep across this year — as well as how to make the most of your accountant during these times.

Accountants play a vital role in keeping businesses open and have been a fantastic support throughout the pandemic, so these insights may help as we embark on the third tax time of the pandemic.

Cashflow planning 

The opportunity here is for small businesses to engage with their advisors as much as possible for advice on cashflow planning.

April is the ideal time for your advisor to support you with what your upcoming tax obligations could be and how any outstanding payments can be managed with the Australian Taxation Office in a way that supports your cashflow.

Work together to look at the busy periods of the year ahead and discuss any specific challenges so you can be more prepared on when and how to spend and save.

Your advisor can negotiate with the ATO on your behalf

As opposed to previous years of the pandemic, where the ATO took a step back from chasing businesses on their outstanding payments, the ATO is starting to be more active. Advisors are experts at negotiating payment terms with the ATO to support small businesses with cashflow and most importantly, assist in recovery form the past couple of difficult years.

Don’t be shy. Ask your advisor about the role they can play in these negotiations to help you further manage your cashflow and keep your business afloat.

Single Touch Payroll 2.0

This year the ATO will roll out STP 2.0 for compliance and some accounting software providers will have already introduced this across their platforms. This means your accountant can help keep you up to date on compliance.

The big benefit here will be time savings, and knowing your accountant will be able to provide support when it comes to payroll.

Recurring monthly billing

Working in partnership with an advisor is one of the best ways to maximise your success in small business. Making sure your cashflow can support your work with an advisor is critical. Ask your advisor to support you with this, by working together to agree the scope of work upfront and build this into a recurring monthly fee.

This way you ensure you remain compliant, have ongoing support and have budgeted for their services. You also avoid a heartbreaking conversation if you have not budgeted for your accounting services and can no longer afford to pay, which can sometimes happen when businesses are paying hourly rates.

As well as leaning on your accountant for support for these matters, they can also help you with specific challenges your business might face. For example, small business owners can gain help from their accountants to navigate access to government support for natural disasters if they have been affected by floods.

Shaye Thyer is head of accounting at Intuit QuickBooks Australia. 

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