What business owners want from their trusted advisors is very simple: for sure they want the compliance stuff done on time and accurately but what they really want is to run a more successful business. As the ‘first response’ trusted advisor the bookkeeper is well placed to offer support but this require having the right tools. Today’s toolkit is very different form the old one where bank recs and statutory return were the big concern: today it’s about managing cash flow and managing the red tape that can entangle even the most strident of business owners. Here a few areas for the trusted advisor can positon themselves as an advisor that actually helps them be more successful.
Cash remains king
It is safe to say that there is no small business owner whose passion is following up unpaid invoices. It is also a safe bet that unpaid invoices cost the business more than they care to think about. Indeed our calculations suggest that for every $50,000 in outstanding invoices, it can costs an extra $6,250 in overdraft interest payments, foregone bank interest and lost opportunities.
How can the trusted bookkeeper help? There are several direct ways.
One is to assist the business owner in collecting overdue invoices by setting up an efficient accounts receivable management system using any one of a variety of add-ons to a cloud accounting software system. The other is to assist the business owner in building a more robust credit control system. Even the display of a credit reporting log such as Creditor Watch can be supportive. Founder and CEO, Colin Porter says “I know it’s selling my owner company’s services but when companies see the logo, they tend to pay.”
Best practice dashboard
Another approach is to help the business owner set up a best-of-breed dashboard to track the most vital business KPI’s. A variety of applications exit; for example, the SAP Business One that provides the business owner with:
- A simple tool that captures and reports on performance of your client’s business while processing daily transactions.
- Value-add to your customers by adding analytical as well as compliance reporting
- Cash flow reporting feature, again adding value for your customers by providing clear visibility of their working capital.
What your client needs to know about annual leave rules
For a business owner, annual leave can be a major liability. If you do not manage it properly, it can become a problem. When wage rates go up every year, so does the annual leave liability? It makes good business sense to manage it. This can be a major headache for business owners, few of whom have time, patience or experience to effectively manage annual leave obligations.
As case in point, a recent Fair Work decision enabled employees covered by 122 Awards to cash out their annual leave – a great result for business owners. Previously, only employees covered under an enterprise agreement were able to. Yet there are a number of points in relation to the change that need management and they relate to:
- Cashing out annual leave;
- Taking leave in advance;
- Managing excessive leave, and;
- When to pay annual leave.
Many bookkeepers are well-placed to assists and to earn fees from the value-adding service. More information about the new annual leave rules is available from HR on Call , a boutique HR consulting business which specializes in small and medium-sized business.