Is it time to consider switching accountants? (It’s easier than you think!)

The 5 KEYS to Selecting the Right Accountant to Ensure Success for Your Business

The right accountant doesn’t just file your taxes. The right accountant can save you money and help you expand your business. Finding an accountant that can also serve as a trusted financial advisor can mean increased revenues, better cash flow and greater success for you and your business. The wrong accountant can be costly. Mistakes in tax filings, lack of tax planning and inability to offer sound business advice can cost your business both time and money.

Welcome to Week 2 in our 5 week series highlighting the keys to consider when you are looking to select an accountant, and how to use your accountant effectively in your business.

Last week we covered KEY #1 – TRUSTED ADVISOR. Don’t just look for an accountant, look for a trusted advisor.

This week we are focusing on building relationships to grow your business.

KEY #2 – VALUABLE CONNECTIONS. Don’t just focus on what your accountant knows, look at who they know.

Your accountant should not only be committed to being a long term advisor to you and to your business, but should also lead by example and show that they have a commitment to their own business, community and industry. By staying involved and active in their community and industry, your accountant should become a good source of referrals for any of your business needs. Once your accountant knows you and your business inside and out, they should be able to recommend an appropriate banker, lawyer, etc. that is the right match for your specific needs. In addition, if your accountant is active in networking in the local business community, then you can ask for introductions to prospective customers, investors, suppliers, etc.

Developing a relationship with your accountant is an important step that most business owners don’t take. Because your accountant can directly impact the success, or failure of your business, choosing the right accountant and making sure they have experience dealing with similar situations as yours is critical.

Start by determining who your accountant has as clients. If your accountant has clients in similar industries as your own, they may have insight on the best ways to determine pricing calculations or business goals that would be vital to your success. They might also have a number of relevant contacts to refer to you that could enhance your business, lead to new business ventures or possible partnerships.

By letting your accountant in on your short and long term business goals, you are only setting yourself up for success. A good accountant should be on the lookout for appropriate introductions for your future needs. For example, if you are interested in expanding, your accountant could have access to business owners looking to sell out. They should have a strong network of other references that would help you expand as well. By knowing your situation and business, they should be able to direct you to an appropriate banker that is likely to lend to someone with your business model. In addition, they should know lawyers, commercial real estate brokers, etc. who can help with your business expansion. A good accountant will not only provide you with just the business contacts, but also give you expert advice on how to use those contacts. If you are expanding your business, your accountant should advise you on how to best insure the new venture along with his referral to an insurance broker. Or, your accountant can give you some tips on how to best protect yourself inside a new partnership so that you can discuss your options with the lawyer they have recommended. When providing a referral, your accountant can and should guide you on how to get the most out of the contacts they are providing.

By truly understanding your business, its direction and your needs, a good accountant can make valuable referrals for both potential customers and potential partners in growth. Your accountant can, and should want to be a valuable networking resource for you.

Come back next week for KEY #3 – OPEN AVAILABILITY.