[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you have an accountant working for you, here are some elements to consider if you have ever wondered whether or not they are doing a good job.
1. Is the relationship working?
First and foremost, is the relationship working for you? Do you trust your accountant and feel that they are an integral part of your team? If not, please go and find a true partner. It will make your business stronger in so many ways!
2. Are the questions flowing?
You must be able to ask them anything and not feel stupid – there really are no stupid questions.
They should also ask you questions to clarify the transactions they are recording. Your accountant needs to understand your business. If they are just recording what they see without any context, your accounting reports will lose value very quickly as there will be no consistency in how expenses are recorded and you will not be able to use the information easily.
3. Does the management team understand the reports?
Your accounting reports should make sense to you and capture your operations in a way that is relevant for your management team. When you review your monthly financial reports, you should be able to nod your head in understanding as you review line by line.
Your accountant should be able to provide sufficient analysis to highlight any unusual elements as well as any trends of concern.
4. Is reporting timely?
Your reports should be available within ten days after your month-end. Quick feedback on your revenues and spending in the prior month allows you to make adjustments if needed to ensure you stay on your plan.
If reports are not timely, you are losing precious time to react and remedy any concerns.
5. Are there minimal surprises?
Surprises should not be a regular event in accounting. If your accounting is in good hands, you should have early indicators of trends – both positive and negative. To err is human but your processes should be set up to minimize the opportunity for error.
6. Are your bank accounts being reconciled regularly?
Bank reconciliations are a regular check and balance. They should be done monthly and ideally by someone who is not doing most of the transactional accounting.
In smaller shops, this may not be practical. If so, ensure that you review them randomly but frequently as this is a key opportunity to detect any unusual activity and you do want to ensure that your bank accounts are reconciled regularly.
7. Are you complying with government filing requirements?
Last, but definitely not least on my list are government filing requirements. These include HST, payroll, WSIB, and EHT amongst others and are required to be filed and penalties are onerous if you do not comply.
Your accountant should ensure full compliance and should report to you regularly to confirm. Definitely not an area where you want to assume anything! Accounting may be considered a chore but, when it is done well, it is a valuable tool to help you run your operations effectively with the resources you have to work with.
Knowledge truly is power and knowing your accounting is well done is powerful to anyone running a business or a NFP.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text margin_bottom=”15″]
The Business Sherpa Group’s Finance & Administration practice focuses on combining the oversight of a Virtual CFO with the operational efficiencies of an accountant, for accurate, timely and relevant reporting when you need it. For more information on our Virtual CFO and Accounting offerings, click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][mk_circle_image src=”https://www.businesssherpagroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Jan-ODonnell.jpg” image_diameter=”300″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]
About the Author
Jan O’Donnell is the Managing Director for the Finance & Administration practice and CFO for the Business Sherpa Group. Jan is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and has been providing Contract CFO support to high technology, small businesses and not for profit clients since 2004. Jan is passionate about combining her business and financial management expertise to provide a hands-on approach to building and enhancing the finance role within small and medium sized organizations.[/vc_column_text][mk_contact_info email=”email@example.com. “][/vc_column][/vc_row]