When was the last time you sat down with your bookkeeper and had a conversation beyond receipts and profit loss statements? Are you utilizing your bookkeeper to their full potential, further enhancing your business and your working relationship? We’re talking about a working relationship built on trust, which only comes from having conversations beyond the numbers. It’s in these conversations where you’ll learn exactly what your bookkeeper can and is willing to do for you.
In our experience, the best place to begin furthering your relationship is to start having deeper conversations that centre around cash flow projections, monthly reviews, best practices, and enhancing your relationship.
Cash Flow Projections
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, but it’s more than just money in and money out. Your bookkeeper should have the skills to help you understand how to better project your cash flow needs so you can set your business up for success. Specifically, by using your bookkeeper’s analytical skills and having an honest conversation about your business’s historical financial data and the future of your current business plan, they can help you discover how to best structure your cash flow to build your business. This is really sitting down and having a question and answer session to help you better plan and understand your numbers.
What do we mean by “help?” A few examples of how your bookkeeper’s insights can improve your business are:
- Budgeting for future equipment required for your business growth,
- Budgeting for cash outlays, such as GST or income taxes, and
- Identify patterns in your business cycle, helping you schedule for any consistent ebbs and flows.
Regular Monthly Reviewing
Do you take the time to review your Accounts Receivable on a monthly basis? If so, great! Keep up the good work.
However, what we often see is business owners simply run out of time to do this – what with running their business and all – often missing opportunities within the numbers. Your bookkeeper can provide you the proper reports each month and flag any potential issues you may need to address or areas of growth potential. For instance, if you have a client who has consistently been quick with payments but is now falling into 90 days past due on a regular basis, your bookkeeper can draw your attention to this, so you only need to follow up with items that require your attention, rather than combing through items that don’t.
Areas that we’ve witnessed how monthly reviewing can identify opportunities for growth have included:
- Better customer service
- New service lines, and
- Expanded service lines, to name a few.
Business Best Practices
Chances are, your bookkeeper has experience with other clients, giving them a wealth of business best practices that you should be tapping into. In building your relationship with your bookkeeper beyond, “here are my receipts and I need this report,” your conversations can move towards, “what do these numbers mean” and “how have other companies utilized their numbers to grow?” This helps you learn about best practices to adopt and grow your own knowledge base as it relates to your business structure, processes, and service lines even.
Enhance Your Financial Relationships
Your bookkeeper and accountant are most likely not the same people. But, your bookkeeper can assist you with preparing the files required to help your accountant in preparation of your financial statements.
Why would this matter?
- Costs: typically, a bookkeeper’s hourly rate is less than that of an accountant’s. If the same quality of work can be done and by someone you trust – ideally your bookkeeper – we recommend doing this. It saves on your resources and builds on the other two benefits below.
- Bookkeeper relationship: you and your bookkeeper will have deeper conversations about what reports need to be run and why. Not only will this further enhance your trust in your bookkeeper, but also allows them to understand your business better, potentially providing guidance on growth opportunities and how to implement them.
- Accountant relationship: you can have higher value discussions at year end around your business as your accountant isn’t having to sort and compile your numbers, eating into your costs as your bookkeeper has already organized and highlighted the relevant numbers. Conversations can turn from “what did you do this year and are your receipts all there” to ones around longer-term tax planning, bringing other family members into the business, tax free organizations, restructuring of your business, etc.
Ultimately, it’s important that your bookkeeper be willing to listen to what you want out of your business and then be there to provide guidance on what your numbers are saying in relation to your vision.
Whether you’re just starting to work with a bookkeeper or have been with the same one for years on end, ask about what they’re willing to do for you and your business. Curious about what this conversation can look like? Contact Priority Business Solutions today!