While relying on online tools can allow you to tackle your accounting requirements yourself they are likely to take up a lot of your time and are unlikely to help you identify any ‘red flag’ situations in the same way a trained accountant would.

If you decide to take on the help of a trained professional, then there are a few things you should take the time to raise with your chosen accountant.

Ask Your Accountant

1st Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

What’s the best way to get in contact with you and how often should we be in touch?
While this may seem an obvious one, you’d be amazed at the number of customers we meet where this issue has become a real bug-bear with their old accountant. Everything else will stem from your contact with your accountant so ensure you’re both on the same page when it come to keeping in touch and keeping each other happy.

2nd Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

How can you help me prepare for the tax season?
While there is no system to make this easier, a good accountant will repeatedly advise you to get your paperwork and questions to them long before the deadline approaches. For peace of mind, you can arrange regular reminders from your accountant in the lead-up and any reputable practitioner will be happy to do this, so it’s a real test of your accountant’s professionalism and flexibility.

3rd Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

What should I consider when consulting with my accountant on an ongoing basis?
A reputable accountant will want to get to know you and your business well enough that they will be able to keep you up to date with an array of factors that could affect your bottom line, be it for good or bad.

He or she should also be happy to help you assess the potential ramifications of certain decisions, like whether to employ somebody full or part time or get in an outside contractor, whether to buy or rent office space or company vehicles and more.

4th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

How can you help me grow my business?
Any accountant worth their salt will be able to assess a business, perform industry research and help you focus on appropriate activities designed to grow your business. A skilled practitioner will keep you working on the aspects of the business that generate income and delegate other tasks that would otherwise be a drain on time and energy.

5th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

How can you help me tighten up on my cash flow?
Clear cash projections are as essential as knowing your unique selling points and understanding your customers and industry. Your accountant should help you produce an effective cash flow model that will allow you to tweak your operations in ways that help you survive shortfalls and manage receivables.

6th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

What is my break-even point?
Every business has a break even point and whether that’s daily, monthly or annually, and knowing yours helps you identify your pricing structure and profitability. Once you know your break-even point, you know how many items or hours of service you need to sell yo cover your costs.

7th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

What is the overall value of my business?
Have your accountant estimate your company’s market value in excess of your tangible assets. He or she should begin by assessing your financial plan and industry and advise what factors are driving comparable companies forward, with the aim of incorporating this information into your business activities.

8th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

Can you help me evaluate and negotiate business contracts before I sign them?
Quite simply, accountants are not lawyers, but they do have a broad knowledge base and so should be consulted for their opinion but only in conjunction with the advice of a qualified professional.

9th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

Are there any special considerations in my particular industry?
Without knowing your industry we can’t say for sure, but we have encountered very few instances where an accountant wasn’t able to impart valuable advice that helped their client better pick their way through their particular minefield.

10th Question You Should Ask Your Accountant

What common mistakes should I look to avoid?

The biggest issue that leads to problems is a lack of clarity. Be honest with your accountant. As a lawyer, they are obliged to work in your best interest and so are not best served if you choose to withhold information. In short, your accountant should help you make better decisions in all aspects of your business.