The hottest topic right now in the accounting industry is how new regulations and changes will affect businesses. Hopefully, I can provide a little clarity on how best to proceed now that tax season is officially here.
As an audit principal at Dalby, Wendland & Co., I work in several disciplines within the accounting and auditing industry. I’d like to offer some insights as well as a few tips and trends that might help guide you and your business.
One thing that’s different this year is the uncertainty business owners feel about the implications new regulations could have on personal and business finances.
One of the trends we see across the industry right now is the demand for quality accountants and financial statement auditors who have experience and expertise beyond general accounting, auditing, bookkeeping and tax preparation.
That demand is driven partly by new legislation, stricter laws and stiffer penalties. It appears that consumers sense the best response is to hire an experienced, professional firm to guide them through the process.
This is actually quite typical for this kind of economic environment. Historically, economic downturns tend to drive business owners to seek financial advisors who can be involved in more aspects of their operations — especially in internal controls, risk management and inventory strategy.
A downturn in the economy also leads people to hire a firm that has the capabilities to manage everything for clients from bookkeeping services to business valuation. From my experience, what clients really want is an accountant who’s highly motivated to see them succeed in all aspects of their finances.
We’re also seeing clients integrate their personal and business finances. While small business retirement planning or estate planning might seem secondary to your small business, for example, it could leave you in a stronger financial position in the future.
Consequently, it’s important for your accountant to not only think about your current financial position, but also your future financial position.
The best advice I give to my clients is to hire an accounting firm that has multiple disciplines and specialties within the firm to help watch over your business and help keep you compliant.
It’s also important to find an accountant you trust, building relationships that help you and your business. The best way to do that is to ask. Businesses now operate in a relationship economy, so everyone is accountable. Look for a firm that’s been able to build some solid relationships in your community.
As far as hiring the right accountant, I cannot stress enough how important it is in a more complicated business environment to hire an accountant with experience and expertise.
I would also suggest asking your accountant what success means to them. To me, success is when my clients enjoy peace of mind about their finances, because that seems to be the one thing people worry about the most. I also like the process of unraveling complex transactions and discovering weaknesses in a business before they turn into problems.
Of course, clients are always happy when we discover ways to save them time and money. Having an experienced team of accountants allows us to give some peace of mind to our clients, business owners and their investors.