SMEs can make better use of their accountant to boost their bottom line

Small business operators who used their accountant as a business advisor last year were 31% more likely to see an earning uplift, according to new research from the 2013 MYOB Business Monitor.

The vast majority of the 1005 business owners surveyed, 89% used an accountant last year.

Only 32% of owners reported having an advisory or consultative relationship with their accountant, compared with the 57% whose relationships were for compliance only, such as tax return completion or GST reporting. Just 11% did not have an accountant.

For the third of business owners who worked with an accountant as an advisor, one in five (21%) saw a rise in their revenue over the last year.

Adam Ferguson, general manager of the accountants division at MYOB, told StartupSmart that using an accountant as an advisor was especially valuable for start-up companies.

“The start-up phase of a business is very different to when it’s up and running. In that phase, your accountant can help with things like creating a business plan, applying for business loans, building out your business case,” says Ferguson.

For start-ups who are already in operational phase, the increasing use of cloud accounting systems enables accountants to provide feedback and ask the right questions about compliance and cash flow.

Ferguson says cloud accounting means compliance is no longer a year-end process, and increasingly a monthly one. This makes them well placed to advise on cashflow questions.

“An accountant can play a key role in helping a start-up, reporting on cash flow on a more regular basis, and understanding the dynamics that drive cashflow,” says Ferguson.

The report found companies that worked with an accountant as an advisor were less concerned about attracting and retaining customers, and were more likely to increase their overall investment in their business strategies.

“Once you’ve got your cash flow healthy, it becomes a question of how to use that and where to invest that to grow my business,” says Ferguson.

Over half, 53%, said they found their accountant advisor provided useful advice on how best to manage the money that flows through their businesses.

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.

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