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The key questions you should be asking your Accountant

April 11, 2018

 

Remember the days when phone directories were actually used to find a business to meet your requirements instead of a just being used as a doorstop? Those big cumbersome books which took a degree and a lifetime of patience to find what you are looking for and once you found what you were looking for, how would you know if they would be reputable?

 

We now live in a world of luxury where we do not even have to get out of bed to find what we need, a simple google search is all it takes. So when it comes to looking for an Accountant, how do you find one and more importantly how do you find one that you can trust?

 

Google will certainly list every possible Accountant that matches your specification, but how do you know which one to go for? Most of us will head over to the opinion paradise of social media and ask our trusted online friends for recommendations and reviews. Once you have narrowed down your selection, it is now time to really do your homework. Scour the internet for articles or testimonials of their work, trawl their website to gain a sense of the business and who exactly you will be working with.

 

The decision to instruct an Accountant shouldn’t be made lightly. They are after all going to have access to the most sensitive areas of your business, providing their advice and guidance that could affect the future profitability of your business and in some cases taking over the business finances completely. That’s a whole lot of trust!

 

As with anything in life, no two are the same and clients are no different. At PBT we meet all kinds of clients, with all kinds of businesses and with all kinds of needs. What surprises us the most when we start a working relationship with a new client, is there are some really key questions that we should be asked, but rarely are. For example:

 

“What are your qualifications”

“How long have you been in the business”

“Do you have insurance”

“How do you keep up to date with changes”

 

We would advise any business to ensure they ask these questions, but we also advise you to dig a little deeper, particularly once you have instructed an Accountant so that you can form a beneficial working relationship and get the most out of their service. So here are some things that you may want to ask your Accountant, things that we by nature provide our clients to ensure the best possible experience. Take a look:

 

"How can I reach you and how often should we meet?"

 

At PBT we are very hands on. As soon as we receive initial contact from a prospective client, we like to meet with them face to face. We believe this is truly the best way to start the client/Accountant relationship.

 

We are fairly relaxed and are happy to communicate with our clients in whichever way they prefer, whether that's by telephone, text or email. As a general rule, important documentation will always be emailed, but should there be something which requires immediate attention from us for the client, we are more than happy to correspond via text or phone.

 

Our aim is to be there to support our clients whenever they need it and so we are available whenever they need us.

 

“How can you help me grow my business”

 

We LOVE this question at PBT, it gets us very excited! The world is your oyster when it comes to business and PBT are ready to help our clients grow their business and achieve their goals.

 

How a businesses finances are managed is pivotal. Every aspect of Accountancy can affect business growth. At PBT we provide services in relation to taxes, cash flow, savings, financing, banking, payroll and even marketing. We work with our clients to implement milestone goals that lead the way to achieve the ultimate vision for the business.

 

“Will you advise me on the latest tax changes that are specific to my business”

 

Absolutely! It’s our job to keep up to date with what’s going on. We consistently check HMRC for any new guidance that have been published and we are forever reading Business and Financial news to continually expand and update our knowledge. If there is something you should know about, we will certainly be telling you about it.

 

“What accounting program or system would recommend, if any?”

 

The first step for PBT would be to fully understand the nature of your business, the processes you have in place and work with you to determine if there is a better, more efficient solution.

 

Believe it or not, some of our clients still write in a ledger book, whilst other clients function perfectly well on an excel spreadsheet. If this works for their business then this is absolutely fine. Finding the best solution for each bespoke business is the key, whatever that may be. PBT are Xero and Quickbooks partners which means that we are able to consider all available options for our clients.

 

“Can you help me review and negotiate business contracts before I sign them”

 

Definitely! PBT have extensive experience with contracts and regularly review them for our clients. We review every contract with a fine tooth comb to ensure that our clients get the best possible deal from any agreement. We would never let our clients make any decision without fully considering all options. Your business is your dream and so anything that may affect this should be conscientiously considered.

 

“What am I doing wrong”

 

Most of the time businesses are not necessarily doing something wrong, it is sometimes just a case of what can you do better. Times are continually changing and things are continually progressing, so it is a matter of keeping up and making sure your procedures move in the same direction.  

 

In our experience, the biggest jump for most businesses when it comes to organising files is the leap from paper to cloud, from physical to digital. We are not here to change your business, we are simply here to help make your business more prolific, helping your business to grow, helping you to grow your money tree.

 

“How much should I pay myself from the business”

 

There are so many factors that affect the answer to this question.

 

Firstly and most importantly, how much money does your business have. The percentage of profit will ultimately have the final say on what you can take from the business. At PBT we work with our clients to determine the reasonable amount they can expect to take from the business.

 

Once this has been decided we would look at which would be the most tax efficient way of taking money from the business. This could be Payroll or Directors Loan and Dividends. We would study the accounts and company cash flow to devise a plan that would detail the most efficient way to pay yourself and keep your business in great financial health.

 

 

Which leaves us with the 3 most important questions any business owner wants to know….

 

“How will I know how much profit I have made?”

“How much tax will I pay?”

“When do I file and what do I file?”

 

Well, only the year will tell!

 

Even after the basic income and expenditure entries have been completed, there are still many additional accounting adjustments that need to take place. We may have mentioned that at PBT we are very hands on. This means we will discuss the figures with our clients at various intervals, which means we can react to any circumstances that arise efficiently.

 

We involve our clients every step of the way, we prepare the accounts and review them with you so you know exactly what will be filed and when. Every business will have a different date for filing which means that we are always kept on our toes… just the way we like it!

 

So make sure you ask these questions and get the most out of your Accountant. Or you could just use PBT and this will all come as part of the service! Contact us to find out more.

 

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