I laugh out loud when friends ask me to do their taxes. If they only knew that I don’t do my own! The initials behind my name (of which I have way too many: CPA/ABV/CFF, CMAP) can be deceiving. After all, not all CPAs specialize in tax and not all auditors work for the IRS. Below are five areas you may not have known your CPA can offer assistance in.
Forecasting. We’re not talking about channeling your inner weather girl/guy. Rather, we’re talking about mapping your future into something that banks and potential investors can relate to. Forecasting allows you to have a better indicator of things like profitability, growth rate and capital needs going forward. By having a business advisor help you forecast your business, you can plan ahead for things to come and, hopefully, take a lot of guess work out of the equation.
Dashboards. No, not the one inside your car. It’s a reporting tool that takes your critical success indicators (CSIs) and the metrics behind them and turns them into dashboards. These dashboards are highly customizable to whatever drives your business. As CPAs we have a sweet place in our hearts for spreadsheet applications like Excel, but to efficiently manage a company you shouldn’t have to dig through rows, columns and tabs to find the key pieces of information to analyze operations. These CSIs should be identified and then made readily available to management so that timely decisions can be made.
Strategic Planning. Is your accountant ready to think outside the box? While boxes often remind most CPAs of spreadsheets or tax forms (which get our hearts racing), a few outsiders in the group would rather help you plan strategically. They have a knack for analyzing dilemmas and finding solutions that can propel an organization to the next level, overcome a barrier or solve personnel issues that can be dicey. Strategic planning sessions can involve various levels of management and ownership, be on site or offsite in a retreat setting. The options are endless, and the outcomes pay dividends.
Personnel. North Dakota is in a unique position with a strong economy and a low unemployment rate. This leads to a workforce issue, where employees are difficult to find and expensive to train and retain. Positions that are even more difficult to fill can include CFOs and controllers who provide strategic advice, guidance and direction for your organization. Without these positions filled, the organization may suffer from a lack of timely reporting and decision making. Outsourcing this accounting and/or finance function is another possibility, allowing for real-time data and guidance while you’re still in growth mode.
Exit. Here’s a question … why did you get into business in the first place? Was it to be your own boss? Try something new? Make your first million? Take a company public? Your business advisor can help you plan for your end game, even if you’re just beginning to run the race. CPAs are not only the go-to for the life cycle of the business, but can also help you ensure a proper exit/next step when the time comes. Whether your goals are to transition to a family member or employee, sell to a third party, or start a new gig, your CPA should be able to assist you in that process. (Of course, I wouldn’t mind talking about your new Arizona retirement home on site or discussing how to make your first million over a round of golf or with a cocktail.)
The important thing is to truly use your accountants and CPAs to their full advantage, making them your business advisor, rather than just someone you visit once a year.
Eide Bailly can help with any of the opportunities listed above. Learn more at www.eidebailly.com/ebpossible or call 701.239.8500.