Hiring external financial expertise when you’re ready to expand your company can be a smart idea. Startup accountants are proficient with numbers and understand how to translate those numbers into useful information.
Accountants for startups can help with tracking, evaluating, and maintaining accurate and up-to-date records for your finances. But whether it’s your first time meeting with a professional accountant or you’ve worked with one for years, be sure to ask the following questions to get the best financial assistance.
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Top 12 Questions to ask an accountant when you want to grow your startup business
1. What information do I have to give?
To start your relationship with your accountant on the correct foot, you must be aware of the documents and information you need to share with them. Once you know the answer to this question, you can move on with confidence, knowing that your finances are in good hands.
2. How should I structure my company?
When starting your business, you must decide whether to set yourself up as a sole proprietor, a limited company, or a partnership. Each has benefits and drawbacks, and your accountant will be able to walk you through them all so you can make the best business decisions.
3. What is my break-even point?
Your accountant should be able to examine various metrics to determine if your company is earning a profit or a loss. Understanding your break-even point will help determine your company’s pricing strategy and profitability.
Once your accountant determines yours, you should have a robust estimate of how many goods or hours of service you have to offer to cover your costs.
4. What are my tax obligations?
Business taxes can be confusing when you’re just starting your own company. You’ll encounter a big learning curve in your first year of functioning.
You may be wondering:
- How much finance should I put aside to cover my taxes?
- When will I need to pay the tax?
- Which income taxes apply to my company?
By discussing your tax requirements with your accountant, you can ensure that there won’t be any surprises and that you’ll be well-prepared for your first tax year (and subsequent ones too).
5. What are my alternatives if I cannot pay my tax bill?
It can be frustrating if you cannot pay your tax obligation at the end of the year. Because of this, it’s a good idea to be proactive and ask your accountant the question as soon as you can. They can assist you in budgeting and planning for what you can and cannot afford, as well as in evaluating the options that are accessible to you.
6. How can I manage my cash flow efficiently?
As a startup owner, one of your main objectives is to keep a healthy (and positive) cash flow. Ask your financial expert how you can manage your cash flow efficiently to avoid it from going negative.
Your accountant can assist you in understanding your cash flow, identifying and analysing any issues, and developing an initiative to increase it. Additionally, you can plan and control your future cash flow with the help of your accountant by creating a cash flow prediction.
7. What are some factors I should discuss with you on an ongoing basis?
You should consult your accountant more frequently than once a year to build a lasting relationship. Asking this question will let you understand which problems you can approach with them that come up regularly in your company.
They can provide valuable insight into various company decisions, including whether to lease or buy equipment, hire full-time staff or a contractor, and decide between buying or renting office space.
It is worth making the right decision initially because these decisions will significantly impact your company.
8. What modifications should I make that would help my company?
Your accountant is an expert on all matters relating to taxes and money. And when you understand each other, your accountant will be an expert in your business. They won’t have all the answers regarding your small business. However, they can provide you with some sound guidance and point you in the right direction.
9. Should I file a VAT return?
If your company’s annual VAT taxable turnover exceeds a specific threshold (currently £85k), you must register for goods and services tax or VAT. But if you’re below this limit, you also have a choice to register your company voluntarily.
Your accountant can explain whether doing this has any benefits for you and what your responsibilities are if you register.
10. What records should I keep?
You must keep track of business documents to file taxes, assess profitability, and obtain funding. Aside from that, you must always keep records handy in case of an audit. You can consult an accountant and ask them which documents to keep. For examples:
- Business tax returns
- Financial records
- Banking records
- Credit card statements
- Business licenses and permits
- Business contracts
- Insurance records
11. How can you support my business expansion?
Every business’s mission is to increase in some form or shape. Maybe you want to open your store at a second location eventually, or perhaps you wish to expand your offerings. When speaking to your accountant, ask them how they can assist in growing your business. Your accountant can monitor your financial growth and identify what limits your company’s success (e.g., overspending).
12. How can I keep my accounting and business data secure?
When you think about information security, you likely think about an IT consultant instead of your accountant, but accounting professionals today know a lot about data protection.
Accountants must safeguard sensitive client data, so they need internal reliable data security practices. Ask your financial expert how they recommend protecting your business’s financial, personnel, and client data from cyber theft.
Having the right accountant isn’t just about crunching numbers; they’re one of your most crucial partners. The most critical decisions you make as a startup owner will involve money. Therefore, it is viable to talk about them with an accountant first.
Asking these questions to a chartered accountant for startups can improve your relationship with them and allow you to use their knowledge to help your business succeed.