Stacey Price AccountantMany small business owners think they can save money by handling their financials themselves. While it’s a real asset to learn bookkeeping basics, cash flow management and your tax obligations, hiring an accountant to oversee your business finances has many benefits.

“But why would I pay for an accountant or bookkeeper when I can just do it myself?  I am saving money.  Surely that is a good thing?”

We hear this so often.  “I want to save money”. Like nearly every month by potential clients who are busy, time poor, not quite sure what they are doing, but they are giving it a go and hoping for the best.

Hoping for the best is not a great strategy when you are talking about ATO obligations, Payroll obligations, GST obligations – or anything else that could literally land you in a hot mess should things go pear shaped.

“It is as the old saying goes… Do what you do best and outsource the rest.  It is often hard to let go, but the benefits should outweigh any cost.”

Leaving your books to a pro will free up time so you can focus on serving your clients and implementing plans for growth. Here are a few ways an accounting professional can help you save money that you can reinvest back in your business.

Here are 3 areas your accountant should be able to help you save money (but I am sure there are plenty of other things they can help with too):

1. Finding money

Do you know what us numbers nerd love?  Finding things.  Finding errors, finding trends, finding a story in your numbers.  So there is no one more suited to discovering “found” money than an accounting professional. By hiring and accountant or BAS Agent to sort out your shoe box of receipts is the easiest way to allow you to quickly see – on a monthly, weekly or daily basis – where your money is going so you can cut costs.

Accurate finances at the touch of a button.  No more excuses and no more stressing at the end of the year trying to work out where all your money went.  You want (and need) to know that information every damn month.

Keeping your accounts up to date will also help you understand which areas of spending are generating the greatest returns so you can be more strategic about spending. An accountant can spot trends that you can take advantage of to earn greater profits – and even find savings with vendors, staff and operating expenses.

Hiring someone to manage your accounts will also reduce the costly errors that are commonplace when business owners try to manually track their expenses or use software that they don’t really know how to use.

2. Avoid ATO penalties

Your accountant should be your trusted advisor when it comes to staying up to date with the latest regulations for small business.  And lets face it – where does the list bloody end?  There is GST, minimum wages, tax on wages, company tax installment, personal tax installment, how to code expenses and more importantly how to code personal transactions.  And that is not even an exhaustive list.

Don’t underestimate the cost savings of hiring someone to complete your GST and activity statements correctly and submit them on time. Penalties for small businesses who neglect to lodge or pay on time – or at all – can quickly add up.  And the longer you wait, the more interest you’ll be charged and the likelihood you’ll incur additional penalties.

The ATO will not just ignore you, so an accountant or BAS agent can deal with the ATO on your behalf and ensure that all lodgements are done on time to avoid these penalties.

And I haven’t even mentioned an ATO audit.  Don’t want to freak you out now do I!  But, trust me when I say you don’t want to face one of those alone.

3. Business advisory services

An accountant possesses business knowledge that can help you make more informed decisions. So the numbers in your accounting software (or shoe box) – well the accountant can decipher that and translate that into a story for you.  Think of those pesky numbers as chapters, telling you about the roller coaster ride that is your business.

An accountant can help with your business plan, your annual budget, your financial goals, your cash flow, those key insights on assessing profitability will help you move your business in the right direction – and avoid wasting time and money on strategies with a lesser chance of success.

Look to your accountant to help you determine your most valuable clients, how much money you need to invest in a growth plan and which marketing strategies yield the best ROI. Having someone you can rely on to help set targets and monitor your progress is an invaluable asset that can help you not only save money, but earn higher profits.

“If your accountant is someone you see once a year, then you clearly haven’t found the right one.  They should be part of your team.  Someone you trust.  They should know more about you than just your business.”

So the bottom line?  Well the bottom line should be about your bottom line.  And your accountant can do much more for you than simple bookkeeping or ensuring you’re on the right side of the ATO. They should be actively analysing your reports to understand your business and help you reach those financial goals you have.  They should care about your business just as much as you.