International Accounting Day is a day to appreciate all the work your accountant does, but what are their biggest bug bears, asks Cheryl Sharp, CEO of Pink Pig Financials
Your accountant isn’t always your favourite person. We get it. Most of the time we are seen as a pain, an unwelcome email chasing a receipt or clarification to get accounts filed in time. We are also associated with the taxman – no one appreciates that bill. We know that we can be an unwelcome call sometimes, but we are on your side and we genuinely want your business to grow and succeed as much as you do.
As today is International Accountancy Day, I wanted to share a few of our bug bears, but also give advice on how business owners can avoid these simple pitfalls which will in turn, make their lives much easier and ultimately save them money.
It’s not just a dating phenomenon; ghosting happens to accountants too. We see this happening more and more the closer we get to needing to file accounts. Our calls and emails get left unanswered.
To be able to manage your accounts effectively and file things in the right place, we need you to answer questions and provide any necessary information.
On a similar vein, leaving everything to the last minute is particularly annoying. Imagine if all our clients only shared their accounts the day before their tax bill is due, how many could we legitimately get done in time?
Thankfully we, and many other accountants, have processes in place to avoid leaving things to the last minute but we still often find that our questions go unanswered until the last minute, leaving us unable to file the accounts in a timely manner.
Not consulting with your accountant before making big purchases is a particularly frustrating bug bear. Before you buy a big ticket item, talk it through with your accountant first. Telling us after you have made the purchase may be too late and can end up costing the business more money. Communicating with us in the first instance and engaging us in the process means we can discuss the best and most tax efficient way of doing it.
One thing I hear time and time again is how business owners have been given advice by someone from the pub, or an auntie, or a friend. While I’m sure they have only the best intentions, the tax rules change all the time.
New policies come into play and procedures change. The best person to keep up to date with the right way of doing things is your accountant. It’s what you pay them for. Share your thoughts of course and ask questions, but let them do their job and they will be able to advise on the best thing for your business at the time.
Not keeping personal, and business expenses and transactions, separate makes our lives extremely difficult. When you own your own business, it is easy for work and home worlds to collide.
Putting everything through the same bank account can make it really challenging for accountants and SME owners to decipher what is a personal expense versus a legitimate and deductible business purchase. The reality of using a single personal account for all activity means that it becomes really hard to separate your business and personal expenses. This could result in missing things which can be included in business expenses and could help reduce corporation tax liabilities.
The closer you work with your accountant; the more money they can save you and the greater results we can get for your business. Accountants are your partners and should be viewed as an extension to your own team. Two-way communication is critical.
We work closely with all our clients to help position the business to help owners achieve their objectives and we can do this effectively because we talk to them regularly, they trust our advice and they engage with us early on in any key financial decision making so the right structures can be put in place to get the most efficient results.
So please, even if only for today, show your accountant some appreciation and let them know how grateful you are for them. They really are working hard to support you.
About the author
Cheryl Sharp FCCA is founder and CEO of Pink Pig Financials