Anyone running a business knows there’s more to it than just thinking of ideas and raking in the cash. It is just as important to have a handle on your numbers and to make smart financial decisions.
For smaller business owners it can be tempting to tackle the number crunching yourself. But on some occasions it is a better decision to enlist the help of auditors and accountants to help with more complex or unique financials. It’s also always worth reviewing how you best spend your time. Engaging experts to deal with different parts of your business frees you up to focus on what you’re best at. And if you’re free to grow the business it’s likely the cost of those experts will be more than covered by the addition income your focus results in.
Spending decisions are always tough for small companies. This article should help you decide if enlisting the help of auditors and accountants will be a worthy investment for your business.
Auditors: who they are and why you could need them
To some, auditing may sound like a scary word. If your company is suspected of breaking the law or using illicit financial loopholes you may find yourself under audit involuntarily. This is why there are many articles online focus on advising businesses on how to avoid getting audited.
Despite this, there are many beneficial reasons for you to hire auditors yourself. Auditors analyse and offer advice on your business’ budgets. From this analysis they can gain insight into your company, and identify areas of potential saving and areas you could afford to spend more in.
Submitting your business to a full, company-wide audit will give you the most thorough picture of where you could spend and save. But some firms offer auditing services for specific parts of your business. Auditstar, for example, provide media audits to help businesses set optimised media budgets.
A media audit goes deeper than just looking at spending. It can also look at relationships you have with media agencies. Ever worried you’re spending too much on a marketing agency contract? It’s a media auditor’s job to find out if so and why.
It might be too costly to have auditors analyse all of your business affairs, but having them concentrate on an individual aspect of your budget, especially if it’s a significant portion of your spend, could help you out enough to make it a fruitful investment.
Accountants: how they could help you business
Many people find filling out tax returns and dealing with HMRC difficult. You might be one of them. A recent satisfaction survey found 70% of people rated HMRC difficult to track down, and only 35% of individuals felt HMRC was efficient.
If you have ever had to listen to the HMRC hold music for half an hour, you will be pleased to know that hiring an accountant to handle this for you is very much an option. But that’s not all accountants can do.
Alongside dealing with VAT, PAYE and corporation tax, accountants can set up and run company payroll, manage bookkeeping, and provide planning advice for matters relevant to their field such as paying tax.
Accountant help and advice can be just as useful as their financial functionality. As The Balance says, accountants can be instrumental throughout the startup process, helping to determine business structure, and helping you set up accounting software.
If you can’t afford to keep an accountant on retainer year-round, getting advice on matters such as these at the beginning of your business endeavour, or before your business grows or changes in any way, could be a useful way to make the most of their help without breaking the bank.
Keeping an accountant on hand at all times could pay off though. As James Richardson, director of accountancy firm Metric, told the Guardian, the best accountants will constantly be on the lookout for ways your company can save or make money.
Finding government grants or tax relief schemes you can participate in, or helping sell shares and attract investment to your business all fall under the brief of an accountant, but too few businesses realise this. As Richardson said, “People tend to say, can you balance my books? What they should be asking is: what am I entitled to that I don’t know about?” If you take this attitude with both accountants and auditors, you will always get your money’s worth. Startups or home businesses might want to consider an accounting firm that specialises in small businesses, such as Lite Tax.
Auditors and accountants aren’t for every business and they certainly don’t need to be on the payroll until you become a larger business, but using them in key areas can help you to make the best financial decisions for you business. Use their expertise to save you time.