6 things you probably didn't realize your accountant can do for your small business

If you're a self-employed freelancer or small business owner, you've probably worked with an accountant to file your taxes.

By Ashley Abramson, Business Insider

If you own a business, you've probably worked with a certified public accountant at one point or another. But did you know accountants can do more than just your taxes and bookkeeping?

 Since accounting is all about interpreting information about an individual or company's finances and operations, accountants can be a key part of your financial advising team, helping you navigate all the important decisions that impact your finances.

Wondering what an accountant can do for you and your business? Here are a few things that might surprise you.

1. Assist you in the loan process

Starting a business often involves taking out a loan. Having a accountant who understands your financial position can help you present the purpose of the loan and consider various options for financing.

"Once the client needs have been qualified, accountants can help business owners with the next phase of winning a loan," says accountant Bryan Kesler.

Usually, Kesler continues, accountants help clients gather the information and data necessary for a loan, from quantifying the current financial condition and credit need to identifying repayment sources. With this data, accountants can also work with clients to craft compelling loan applications that can improve the chances a bank will approve the request.

2. Review your documents and contracts

If you are entering into an agreement with possible tax or accounting implications, it's probably a good idea to have your accountant review the document.

"Accountants can analyze the agreement and let you know about the tax and accounting consequences that will affect an individual's or an organization's financial prospects," says Dewey Martin, Professor Emeritus from Husson University's School of Accounting. "Their perspectives help their client avoid negative consequences associated with cash management, financial planning, financial statements, and insurance."

3. Help with estate and trust planning

Since your taxes can impact your estate, you may want to work with a accountant to make sure more of your hard-earned assets go to your heirs or charity rather than the government.

"Accountants can provide strategies that allow their clients to pass assets to children or grandchildren before they pass away, or provide strategies that will allow non-profit organizations to benefit from a client's generosity while minimizing the tax ramifications," Martin says. "These strategies help clients make sure that a greater percentage of their assets go toward organizations that provide social good."

4. Guide business succession planning

On top of consulting everyday financial decisions, your accountant can also help you shape the future of your business, Martin says. This includes making plans for succession if you're looking to pass your business down to the next generation of family members or to employees.

5. Provide virtual CFO services

If your business isn't big enough to hire a CFO but you'd benefit from tailored financial advice, you can outsource.

"As business operations become more and more virtual, you can outsource financial oversight and expertise to accountants or financial professionals without paying for their health insurance and holiday pay," says Ben Sprout, a accountant and CFO of DollarSprout.com.

With online accounting software, video conferencing and electronic document sharing, Sprout says your accountant can help you make decisions regarding taxes, cash flow, strategy and a multitude of other things beyond simply paying them to file a tax return every spring.

6. Help you figure out how to grow

If you own a business, you know your company's success hinges on hiring the right people at the right time. Will Lopez, head of accountant community at Gusto, says accountants are perfectly positioned to help clients figure out how to grow their business with smart hiring.

"By providing business owners with people-focused financial metrics each month, such as operating profit per employee and average expense per employee, accountants can help small business owners manage their greatest asset - their workforce," he says.

See more at Business Insider



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6 things you probably didn't realize your accountant can do for your small business
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