Your accountant knows a lot about you whether you realize it or not. The compliance work accountants complete on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis gives them an intimate knowledge of their clients’ businesses, investments and even their families. To do their work, accountants have to ask a lot of questions. They learn a lot as a result.
This process enables accounts to serve as trusted advisors who can help their clients make decisions about business operations, investment portfolios and estate planning.
In addition to annual tax returns and reviewed financials, what is it exactly accountants can help you with? Here are a few things to consider:
How often do you meet with your accountant? A quarterly review of your financials and a benchmarking analysis can help you see how you measure up to your competitors.
Is your business stuck in a rut? That same benchmarking and historical knowledge accountants have of your business and industry give them insights into how to escape a rut.
Thinking about expanding? Accountants can help put the right processes in place to handle growth. They can assist with the valuations you’ll need to get stock options as well as the executive compensation you might need to attract new talent.
Speaking of new talent, how’s your retirement plan? Not just for you, but also for your employees? Let your accountant know what you want out of your retirement plan and ask about what might work best for your situation.
Wish you could retire? Your accountant can help you with succession planning. And if you don’t have anyone in mind to take over the business, the best person to ask about the economic and tax consequences of a buy/sell agreement is — guess who — your accountant.
Starting a new business or interested in buying one? Is someone offering you a share in another company? Who better to ask than an accountant about owning a business and the associated tax effects. Don’t let a legally binding document become a trap your accountant could have identified given the chance to review the paperwork.
Getting a divorce? It’s a difficult time for all the parties. You should know, though, you’re taking steps to ensure there are no surprises in store.
Are you philanthropic? Take advantage of all the ways giving to charity can be used to leave a legacy to those most in need. If you’ve never heard of a charitable remainder trust, call your accountant.
Your accountant knows a lot about you. But you know even more. Accountants are good at listening and can help your think through ideas, address tough issues and present options that empower you in making life-changing decisions. Call your accountant and get the help you need.