5 reasons to use a specialised small business accountant

How using the right accountant can help improve your business performance

Starting your own business can be a daunting task. You know you have a great idea, you sound it out to some friends and work colleagues who tell you you’ll make millions.

You finally get the confidence to take that great stride, that leap of faith… but no-one told you of the thankless work, the 16 hour days, and that the only drive to make the business work has to come from you. Or does it…?

Now, however, the percentage of small companies using accountants for business advice and support, not just financial planning, appears to lie between 72% and 94% (according to an ACCA case study). As you’re looking to get your business off the ground you will naturally seek help and where better to start than appointing an accountant for their knowledge on the small business sector and experience on how to deal with finances effectively.

As small businesses begin to start tapping into the business knowledge of their accountants to help guide and drive their business, it has become even more important to ensure you have not just an accountant but the right accountant, a specialist small business accountant.

The top 5 reasons to use a specialised small business accountant

1. They can offer the full small business package

A specialist small business accountant is no longer just an accountant; they are people who are not only professionally qualified, but also have the depth of knowledge, experience and understanding of the needs of small businesses and the support they require. They can simply be referred to as a “trusted small business adviser”.

2. They understand the nature of a start-up or small business

Small companies differ greatly in the terms of the assistance they require – for example, the nature of their job roles, the limited sources available to them and how the business is run will have an impact on future opportunities. Small business focused accountants possess a wealth of experience in dealing with specific problems and in turn offer better informed advice in resolving issues.

These specialist accountants are able to access resources and additional help through their little black book of contacts, such as professional accountancy membership bodies with a focus on the small business sector. They can provide a tailored set of answers to help their members give better informed advice to their clients.

3. They have a small business focused skill set

Using their experience and knowledge specialist accountants can tap into a skillset like no other to support, guide and advise their small business clients which will not only improve the financial management of start-ups and growing businesses, but also stop them from falling foul of HMRC regulations, where non-compliance can result in punitive fines.

4. They have a vested interest in enhancing the stability and profitability of the small business sector

Small companies are the lifeblood of the UK economy – with an estimated turnover of £1.6tn. What suppresses small businesses is red tape and the quantity of it, but accountants specialising in small businesses can raise these issues with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA) who are “the voice of the SME” in all accountancy, tax and business matters. The IFA will speak on behalf of small business specialist accountants and their clients to represent a unifying voice in the political and professional arena through lobbying and influencing decision makers.

5. Small businesses clients recommend them

“As David Anderson, a member of both the IFA and FTA, works predominantly for small businesses, he seems to understand my needs more than those larger firms of accountants. He handles all my business finances and personal tax matters but also has helped with my website, business planning, advertising and provides a good sounding board if I need advice on which direction to take. I and my business would be lost without him.”

(Simon Dilland, managing director of Hampshire Trailor and Roofrack Centre Ltd, speaking on his experience with David Anderson IFA and FTA member, July 2014)

Russell Clemence is the marketing & communications director at the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA), an internationally recognised professional accountnancy membership body whose members work within micro and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or in small to medium-sized accounting practices (SMPs), advising micro and SME clients.

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