Walker Hill Group

What does an Accountant for a small business do?

So… you want to hire an Accountant. Before you do, however, it helps to know that Accountants don’t just crunch numbers and lodge tax returns – and they don’t take it easy up until tax time. The right Accountant (specifically, a Chartered or Certified Public Accountant) can be one of the single best investments for your business as a small business owner, particularly as your business grows.

Do you know that working with Walker Hill means working with the same company that has enabled their own success and growth over the last nine years? That’s right- Walker Hill started with two people and a bunch of cold calls. Today, our office boasts over 40 staff members across four divisions and are specialists in small business accounting. The benefit Nick and Andrew had – and can share with you – is the backing of top Accountants and small business accounting professionals in themselves! They know what being a small business owner means to you because they are small business owners. They’ve lived it and now, they want to see how your business works (and how it can be improved).

Business advisory, managing business finances specific to small business, learning how to save money and boosting revenue are just some of what a talented Accountant can offer to those who do, or wish to, run their own business. If anything in relation to numbers or processes is distracting you from your day-to-day business dealings, it is guaranteed an Accountant has the tools and means to automate and simplify this for you, allowing you to focus on your business (and yourself).

Just remember, that when looking for someone to do your business accounting, consider more than their knowledge and skill. Though an Accountant is not a financial advisor, they still can advise you on a number of aspects of your money – like why opening a separate bank account is a good idea, or what is needed to create financial reports. You should be able to have very frank conversations with your Accountant when you’re formulating a business plan or wishing to expand, so it’s important to find somebody you like and can trust.

Talk to people about your wish to hire an Accountant – nothing beats a recommendation from trusted friends, family and business partners.

Did you know that Walker Hill offers an obligation free, cost free phone, video or in-office meeting for anyone wanting to discover how to Make It Count for you?

What can an Accountant do for small business owners?

1. Business Strategy

A business is a multi-faceted and ever-changing beast of its very own. If you’re unsure what to focus on and when, your Accountant can help you figure out what’s important. They’ll work with you to set goals – personal, professional and financial – then give you tools to measure your progress. You’ll receive a set of personalised key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how your business is doing.

If you require someone to help create financial reports, produce statements, or educate you on which accounting tasks will be needed and how to help your business grow, your Accountant can help. If you have accounting software, your Accountant can set up dashboards that allow you to check your KPIs at any time of the day or night. You can return to your Accountant any time (we recommend at least annually) to review strategies and performance and receive advice to improve in these areas.

The right Accountant should take a holistic approach to strategy by breaking down big business problems into manageable parts. What is cash method? Should you ever withhold taxes? What is the difference between sole proprietorship and operating through an entity structure? Where do I apply sales tax? Giving moral support is an important part of what Accountants do.

2. Fix Cash Flow and Business Finances

Many profitable businesses can fail because they run out of money at a particular time, jeopardising the ability to pay suppliers or staff. The cash you have now matters – just because you can purchase or invest in something, doesn’t mean you should. Even a successful business won’t last long if payments are slow to come in or expenditure is too high.

Revenue and costs ebb and flow. Your Accountant will help you predict your cash flow and come up with strategies to manage your individual situation. They’ll organise cash reserves and come up with a spending plan that ensures there’s always money in the bank. It’ll make payroll less stressful, supplier relations easier and allow your more clarity and confidence around cash coming in and going out.

3. Manage Your Debt

Don’t know the difference between bad debt and good debt? Didn’t even know there was such a thing as good debt? You’re not alone… and that’s what Accountants are here for.

Not only can your Accountant help you tell one from the other, but they also know what to do with any spare cash you might have. This is achieved by studying the numbers behind your business as well as debt structure and tailoring a specific strategy for you – there is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to debt.

Your Accountant can also find the least expensive borrowing strategies for your business with the right combination of repayment flexibility and low interest. Need refinancing? We can take care of that too, or recommend you to someone who can provide you with financial advice.

4. Budget Smarter

Detailed budgeting is essential for business, however this can use up a lot of resources, time and energy. Don’t work off assumptions or estimates – this will only lead to more work later on. Your Accountant can help you produce an accurate budget that gives you clarity in your day-to-day incomings and outgoings. You’ll have confidence that you will know the real cost of doing business, you’ll know how much money you can reinvest… and you’ll know what you can pay yourself!

5. Efficiency Talks

Time is money. When it comes to physical or digital storage, staff training and hiring, payroll or chasing invoices, your Accountant can help you look into these costs strategically. They have the expertise to help you to identify unnecessary costs or processes.

Smart business software (including Cloud accounting) can automate a lot of the things you do manually on a day-to-day level. Good accounting software ultimately makes your life easier and can take away distractions. By setting up affordable software for things like recording transactions, cash flow patterns, bank accounts, personal finances, business expenses and financial documents, reporting for financial analysis is then readily available.

Be sure you find a tech-savvy Accountant that knows about accounting and business apps. Walker Hill are proudly Cloud Accountants, meaning our clients’ information is safe and secure and accessible. We also provide advice and teach you how easy it is to use!

6. Tax, of Course!

Hiring an Accountant means that your tax gets done well (and on time).

Late filing or payment of taxes results in penalties and interest – businesses can lose thousands of dollars this way. When you hire an Accountant, you won’t miss any more deadlines. A good Accountant will work well in advance so that tax filing is smooth and stress-free.

At Walker Hill, we encourage tax planning before the end of the financial year, every year. This will allow you to ensure that you’re set for the new financial year.

Falling behind on lodgements limits your ability to manage well. When you’re self employed, your Accountant can save you time by taking care of the numbers and spreadsheets and if you’re working with the right Accountant, you will forget what it was like to dread tax season. Accounting professionals know when to withhold taxes, what your financial health is like and where your tax focus needs to be as business owners – they understand your company’s finances.

Working with an Accountant will ensure you take advantage of tax breaks you might not have known about, adhere to lodgement deadlines, ensure documentation (such as proof of purchase for expenses) is never lost, avoid data-entry errors and keep up-to-date – you will not feel a tax burden.

7. Ongoing Support

Walker Hill wants to keep in touch with their clients and see them at least annually. We need to know your situation year in, year out to provide the best possible advice. We work hard on structuring your business to allow for some extenuating circumstances and review annually, so you don’t have to. We also want you to have peace of mind and understanding in what we do. It takes a village!

Your financial structure must adapt as your business expands. If your business revenue is increasing and you’re gaining momentum, it’s time to speak to your Accountant about tax planning strategies.

Walker Hill has a wealth of experience assisting clients in growing their business and adapting to the changes that come with each new stage of development. Walker Hill’s extensive tax, accounting, bookkeeping, business advisory and consulting services can support your growing needs and best capitalise on your opportunities.

If you’re needing support regarding grants, loans or dealing with tax laws, there is no better place to start than with your Accountant.

8. Free Up to Level Up

Most business owners don’t really enjoy, or fully understand, bookkeeping or accounting. Hiring professionals to take care of your accounts, books and key dates shouldn’t be considered a luxury, but rather a necessity. Hiring professionals allows more time not just for your business, but for yourself. Accountants provide advice whilst keeping track of all the “boring” things, so you don’t have to (tax obligations, lodgement requirements, interpretation of tax codes and tax laws… to name a few).

We recommend not just hiring professionals; but trusting them. A good Accountant is a business professional. At Walker Hill, your business is our business. We know what it’s like to take business seriously because we’ve been there!

If you’re not the sort of person who wouldn’t hire a lawyer for a court case but rather try to do the legal work yourself, don’t try and manage your own books and accounts if you’re not sure what you’re doing. We always endeavour to advise you so you understand as much as you can about your company’s accounts and more, but as professionals we are here to be the experts for you in this area. We want to work both for and with you to find the the best possible solutions for your business. Trust your Accountant… and see what a difference it makes to the day-to-day running of your company.

A good Accountant can make business better. If your current Accountant is just going through the motions, you’ll be amazed at the difference a more pro-active Accountant can make. No matter what your business needs, if the right Accountant can’t solve your business problem themselves, they’ll know who can.

FAQs

How much does it cost for an Accountant for a small business?

This depends on a number of factors – the size of your company, the services you choose and whether you wish to combine other entities or individuals. Many Accountants can combine your business accounts with your personal tax return in an easy-to-manage lodgement process.

What accounting services do small businesses need?

Once again, this depends – there is no one “perfect Accountant” for everyone. Walker Hill recommends you hire an Accountant who can help you:

  • Establish a business plan and business structure
  • Manage cash flow and budgeting – helping you to ascertain how much money you have to spend or invest at any one time and giving you a transparent financial position
  • Plan for future tax
  • Complete filing taxes
  • To know when, how and why to open a business bank account
  • Manage a savings account
  • Run business operations, whether you are self employed or manage your business through another structure
  • Track expenses, business taxes and sales tax
  • Determine if cash or accrual method works for you
  • Assess and recommend processionals for business legal structure
  • Ensure tax time accuracy and efficient turnaround
  • Complete personal tax returns and/or general business accounting, including multiple entity business accounting
  • Introduce you top other financial professionals, including small business financing
  • Create and lodge financial reports
  • Establish a bookkeeping system
  • Update bookkeeping system
  • Train and introduce you to cloud-based accounting software
  • Maintain inventory management
  • Establish Cloud-based accounting software
  • Meet superannuation obligations
  • Arrange ATO support, obligation, contact and negotiation
  • Start a business checking account
  • Network with other small business
  • Establish estimated tax payments
  • Manage business accounts

What’s the best accounting software for small business?

Walker Hill is a proud partner of Xero. We recommend this for our clients. We know how efficient and easy it can be working with Xero because we work with it too. We both train in and implement Xero for small business.

Other popular options are MYOB, Quickbooks and Reckon, however for Walker Hill and many of our clients, we believe you can’t beat the simplicity, ease and modernity of Xero.

How much does an Accountant charge to set up a company?

It depends on your specific circumstances. You will get the most accurate number from a meeting, discussion and quote from your Accountant that has been tailored to your particular company’s current, and future, needs.

Often, it is beneficial for sole proprietors to move into a company structure and the costs associated with setting up a company will be quickly negated by the benefits it offers.

Why does my Accountant need my bank statements?

Your physical bank statements help us to spot errors and keep your financial statements accurate.

Though most banking is done via the Internet these days and bank transactions are automatically sent to your accounting system (like Xero), your Accountant may still need the physical bank statements. As they prepare your annual financial statements and tax returns, they will check the figures against your bank statements, which is known as third party verification.

Sometimes, mistakes can arise through human error, like expenses being recorded twice or transactions deleted in error. On occasion, transfers are incorrectly coded or have been allocated to an incorrect account. This is where bank statements are vital time savers – we can check the balances on your statements against your accounting system to ensure accuracy.

How do I choose an Accountant?

Your small business is unique and you want an accounting service that will provide support that is tailored to your individual needs.

Find someone you can trust. After all, small business accounting means transparency with your business income, financial documents and even business bank account. Small businesses need to think of their Accountants as part of their business and Walker Hill pride ourselves in really getting to know you and your business.