From expenses and timesheets to estimates and invoices, it can be overwhelming to condense an entire year of business into one single meeting with your accountant. Wouldn’t it be great if they were with you all year long monitoring your figures, catching red flags and advising you every step of the way? We surely think so. That’s why you should take the opportunity while your accountant is not bogged down in taxes to have a fierce conversation. Go beyond taxes and discuss these five keys to improving your small business efficiency.
Cash Is King
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your company and must be monitored closely to keep operations running smoothly. Many small business owners don’t understand the importance of cash flow or how to monitor it, and that’s where your accountant can come in handy.
Be sure to review the following:
- Analyze your budget to identify what unnecessary costs can be cut and how you can make better purchase decisions to improve business efficiency
- Evaluate your pricing policies according to industry averages; you may be undercharging and leaving money on the table
- Discuss collection policies so you’ll get cash from sales faster and easier
Lock Down Your Expense Control
Managing expenses is easier said than done, but one of the best methods for approaching expense control is the mirror technique. This approach examines the growth or decline of sales over a specific period of time and adjusts operating expenses accordingly. For example, if a company’s sales were to decrease by 25 percent during the projected period, operating expenses should also decrease by 25 percent. In order to remain sustainable and flourish into the future, small business owners must work with their accountants on a recurring basis to manage these expenses properly.
Take a Stance on Mis-financing
Mis-financing is defined as borrowing short-term capital to pay for long-term assets. Purchasing equipment, leasehold improvements, and other fixed assets with a short-term line of credit drains the cash out of a business and reduces the amount of time the asset has to pay for itself. Correctly matching the term to the useful life of an asset increases the company’s cash flow and frees up the line of credit for seasonal working capital needs. Working with an accountant in the early stages of mis-financing can help to mitigate the debilitating effects it has on business efficiency – saving you time, stress, and money in the long run.
Review Inventory Management
With so much focus on growing revenue, small business owners often lose sight of the gradual increases made in their inventory levels. This phenomenon is more apparent in today’s economy due to the extended growth that occurred in the prior 10-year period. Meet with your CPA to streamline inventory tracking methods, prioritize your time and resources, realign with industry standards and create a back-up plan for emergencies. All of these steps will help you find the right balance between inventory and sales, which can drastically increase a business’ available cash.
Ask About New Technologies
Your accountant most likely has access to a number of SaaS (software-as-a-service) programs that go beyond QuickBooks. Whether it’s a service offering industry average comparisons, online loan applications or expense tracking; the benefits of utilizing new cloud solutions are worth asking your CPA about. These programs enable accountants to quickly identify red flags, pinpoint risk indicators and provide an ongoing plan for improvement – giving small business owners the tools they need to succeed and grow.
Although tax season has finally passed, it is wise for small business owners not to rush out of their CPA’s office too fast. Take the time this year to utilize their expertise in helping your small business manage its cash flow and expenses, finance effectively, control inventory, and integrate valuable new technology that can help increase your small business efficiency, saving you time and money.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.