Entrepreneurs need someone to challenge their ideas, provide constructive advice, and keep them focused on implementation. Who should that be? Mitch Silverstein says it should be an accountant – you know, the one you just finished talking to for the annual ordeal known as tax season.
There's a new type of chartered accountant making an appearance on the Canadian business scene, says Mr. Silverstein; one that's well-positioned to become a business adviser and not just a number cruncher.
Mr. Silverstein says there are three things that you should expect from the relationship with your accountant:
1. Proactive, regular communication and contact. Accountants traditionally meet with corporate clients once or twice a year, during tax season and at fiscal yearend. This is simply not good enough. Business owners must make strategic and financial decisions year-round. Your accountant should be plugged into what is happening in your business at all times; otherwise, opportunities may be lost forever. Decisions may be made too late.
2. More than just number crunching. Financial statements and corporate tax returns are the absolute minimum of what accountants should deliver. By understanding the numbers, a good accountant is ideally suited to identify opportunities for your business. You should expect your accountant to recommend strategies for improving the bottom line, saving taxes, identifying and filing for special tax credits, and protecting and growing your assets.
3. Guidance for managing and eventually exiting the business. These new style accountants believe their responsibility is to help businesses go from good to great. They help clients lead and manage, rather than just operate the business and they help implement strategies to make it more attractive when you are ready to sell or transfer it. By working with you to plan your future transition (the earlier you plan, the better), you will ultimately maximize the value of your company when you exit.
Surround yourself with service providers who truly understand your business and can support your journey to success. That’s what the new type of accountant brings to today’s successful entrepreneur.