For many resellers, access to an accountant is a luxury. Beyond tax season, channel pros tend to rely on their own knowledge of bookkeeping. After all, stiff competition, narrowing margins, and an uncertain economy put most partner resellers in the position of having to reduce expenses wherever possible.
What many channel resellers don’t realize, however, is the value that comes from building and maintaining a relationship with an accountant—even if only on a limited or conservative basis.
Accountants offer resellers insight and experience that will help shape the business plan and model. At the very least, an experienced accountant will be able to tell a reseller what financial options are available and what other business owners have done to address a whole host of concerns.
Why Have an Accountant?
Jennifer Warawa is vice president of partner programs and channel sales at Sage North America. Sage develops business management applications and services for SMBs as well as the MSPs and resellers who service them. Warawa recently provided Channel Pro-SMB with some reasons channel resellers should consider cultivating a relationship with a trusted accountant.
Here are seven of those reasons:
Accountants understand tax. Because rules and regulations change annually (if not more frequently), having an accountant when it comes to tax time is critical. “Aligning with an accountant can help ensure that your business remains compliant,” Warawa says, “and it is a critical step in maximizing your tax savings.” She adds that many channel partnes save significantly when using a tax accountant, and often find they have “paid for the accounting fees 10 times over.”
If your business has been audited by the IRS, then you probably know the benefits of having a reliable tax accountant. “Participants of Sage’s accountant usage studies also agree,” Warawa points out. “Ninety-two percent of respondents said working with an outside accountant during an audit was very helpful.”
While many resellers store and catalog data, not many are able to fully interpret that data for the benefit of sales and business operations. According to Warawa, an accountant can help with that. “If all your data is just sitting in a database, and you’re not interpreting, analyzing, or using it to help drive your business direction and decisions, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity,” she says. “Have an accountant help you dive into the numbers and use them to propel greater business growth and profitability in the future.”
Many resellers are so consumed with the day-to-day, week-to-week operations of their business that they aren’t able to step back and see the forest for the trees. A professional accountant, on the other hand, will likely provide the needed analytical perspective.
“Someone who is removed from the business can provide a different perspective that may otherwise be missed,” Warawa says. “Meeting with an accountant can be like taking a step back, looking at the bigger picture, and gaining a fresh, new perspective.”
#5—Experience & Wisdom
While your business challenges may feel unique they may actually be problems that other businesses have faced (and overcome). An experienced accountant will share with you the ways in which other companies have addressed specific obstacles.
“Accountants not only get to see the financial information of many businesses across a variety of industries,” Warawa says, “but they also have visibility into best practices that are working for other businesses as well as the mistakes others have made that have led to failure. Being able to have this insight and share information on what has or hasn’t worked for others is invaluable.”
#6—Business Plans that Work
Not every channel partner takes the time to create a business plan that works. In fact, according to Warawa, most small businesses fail to make a plan at all. That’s where an accountant can help. “A good accountant will partner with a business to look at all the data and help build a roadmap to success,” Warawa says. “Bringing a professional on board can help small businesses plan for success.”
#7—Better Chance at Overall Success
Business owners who regularly consult with an accountant report greater overall success. According to Warawa, “In an accountant usage study conducted by Sage among U.S. business owners, 89 percent of respondents agreed that working with an accountant was a critical element of their success.”