Are you in the planning stage of a business venture? Do you own and operate a recently started business? Are you planning a business expansion? When should you hire an accountant to help? The following is some information that can help with the decision of when to hire an accountant.
What are the duties of an accountant?
An accountant’s duties vary from company to company, but typically they are responsible for:
- Data management: An accountant is responsible for ensuring a business’ financial data is stored, updated and managed appropriately. They make sure proper procedures are used for data entry and accounting software is up to date, secure and regularly backed up.
- Financial analysis and consultation: Accountants act as a resource when a business is making financial decisions. They provide tips on spending, discuss options for credit and tax deductions and help interpret financial jargon. They help troubleshoot the day-to-day management of finances in a company.
- Financial reports: Accountants supply documents that provide deep insight into a business’s performance (income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, profit and loss statement, accounts receivable aging, revenue by customer, accounts payable aging, statement of retained earnings, general ledgers, etc.). A business and its investors make decisions based on the reports their accountant provides.
- Regulatory compliance: There are many rules and regulations that affect businesses. An accountant ensures that your income and expense reporting follows applicable provincial and federal laws.
When do you need an accountant?
An accountant can save you time, money and headaches. There are several key times when an accountant can make a significant difference for a business.
- When starting your business: A chartered accountant can assist you in writing your business plan, help you acquire funding, aid you in leasing a space and provide you with direction and goals. They can advise you on the best structure for your business (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation), help you get the appropriate licenses (GST number, business license) and assist you in setting up business accounting software.
- For compliance and tax issues: An accountant makes sure you are in appliance with applicable tax laws, helps with complex payroll issues and assists with reporting requirements.
- When being audited: A chartered accountant provides advice to work within the auditing process. They can recommend accounting software that incorporates an audit trail, easing the transactions needed during an audit.
- When applying for a loan: An accountant improves your chances of receiving a business loan. They can present facts and figures that back up your application for funding. They can advise you regarding the best type of loan and whether the terms, conditions and interest rates offered are favourable for your company.
- When expanding: A chartered accountant can help you handle growth transitions (hiring, larger office space, increased product/service line) and look after details (payroll, tax management, property tax, utility payments) allowing you to focus on company growth. They can analyze cash flow, inventory and pricing to provide insight into how to grow your business successfully. They can even help determine the best time to introduce new products and/or services.
- Before taking on a franchise: Franchise contracts vary widely. An accountant can help determine whether the fees and percentages charged will allow for a reasonable income. They assist in providing sufficient information for making the decision regarding franchising.
- Before buying a business: Consult an accountant before buying an existing business. They can look into the company’s accounts and determine whether the purchase is a financially sound decision.
- Before you sell your business: A chartered professional accountant can put your company’s financial records in order and produce statements of accounts that you can show to prospective buyers. They create charts and tables to clearly show your company’s position. They can also structure your financial affairs so that you get the most from selling your business.
- Every step of the way: The truth is, a chartered professional accountant can help your business at every stage of its development. They can make life easier for you so you can concentrate on operating your business.
A chartered professional accountant can interpret your financial data in order to help you make better business decisions, assist you with business start-up, aid with tax and compliance issues, be of service during auditing, help you expand and/or buy a franchise, aid in acquiring a loan and help out at various stages during the growth of your business. Every business benefits from working with an accountant!
Need help with the financial complexities of your business? Want advice regarding your business’ situation? Contact Cook and Company Accountants. Whether you operate a sole proprietorship or a sizable corporation with multiple subsidiaries, we use our experience and expertise to assist you. Contact us to request a meeting.