Four Questions to Ask Your Accountant

Posted by Michael Kirby on Mar 5, 2019 12:10:00 PM

In an ideal world, you and your accountant would be more than just "client" and "advisor". Together, with combined skills and a shared 'mission', you are more like strategic partners. Key to achieving such a partnership is strong communication between both parties. At your next accounting meeting, ask the following four important questions.

1. What’s my best strategy for increasing revenue?

It's a primary goal for every business owner to improve their profit margins. But the optimal strategy to grow revenue sustainably will vary depending on your industry and your business overall.

While reviewing your financials, ask your accountant to identify smarter strategies to generate more revenue. For your company it might involve focusing on new leads, incorporating either cross-selling or up-selling, encourage frequent buying from customers, and/or rethink your pricing.

2. How would you assess our financial performance this quarter/year?

Part of your accountants duty is stay remain up to date with the financial reports and statements of your company (eg. income statement, cash flow reports, profit and loss statement, and balance sheet)

Small business owners who may lack confidence in the financial aspects of their business, may only want to know the simple basics. Let your accountant know you'd like a thorough financial analysis at your next meeting, along with help in understanding what the numbers mean.

Ask for important rations, such as gross profit margin percentage, and a big picture assessment. This allows for comparisons to be drawn with past performance and any trends within your industry.

Additionally, ask your accountant for any insight they may have into any reasons for new developments and what can be done to correct these areas where you may be falling short - as well as actions to be taken to continue any positive trends.

3. How can you help me grow my business?

Your accountant should be prepared to offer professional advice to help your business grow and expand as time goes on.

Scaling a business can be difficult. It requires the company to not only satisfy their existing customers to the current degree but adapt to change while doing so, such as new staff and possibly a new system to accomodate a greater volume of clients. Likewise, financial management may require more support as you transition to a larger company.

Your accountant should be able to provide tips as to how best facilitate a smooth and sustainable growth that causes minimal disruptions to your daily operations, based on past experience with other small business clients who successfully scaled.

4. What are your most successful clients doing?

It's likely your accountant has a number of clients that they work with, and therefore has knowledge of the inner workings of companies who are struggling and others who are flourishing.

Failing to ask your accountant about the success stories of their clients is a missed opportunity. Even if there is little in common between your business and theirs, there is still value in learning what yielded them such impressive results.

On the other hand, you may ask how another client overcame challenges that your business may also be facing, in order to help brainstorm possible solutions.

Final thoughts

Your accountant is an incredibly valuable resource for your business – and not just at tax time. Be sure to check in every quarter so you have the up to date financial info you need, and your accountant’s professional advice when it comes to making key business decisions.

Your accountant is an important and valuable resource for you business. Ensure you check in quarterly so you have the most recent financial data that you need and their advice in making critical business decisions.


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