Your accountant is a professional who you might see only once a month, each time they have to present the financial statements, and maybe more often around the time when they have to present the annual tax declarations, etc.

You may be glad that you do not to see your accountant daily. In fact, you might take it as a sign that everything is going well with your business finances. There are no last-minute mishaps to control and everything is operating as smoothly as a Swiss watch.

What should, or must, accountants do?

But sometimes you may be slightly confused regarding the functions or even the role your accountant should play within your business. You do not know if they should simply be an auditor, a financial adviser, or external help that you can consult when you need. Or should they be playing a more active role? You can find out more about the range of advice and services accountants can provide at for a more in-depth understanding of their areas of expertise.

First, you should consider the functions you need your accountant to perform; what are their tasks within your company, and hence determine their responsibilities.

Accounting functions

  • These typically include creating financial records of all assets, income, liabilities, and expenses related to your business finances. It is necessary that this is done by an experienced accounting professional, timely, efficiently, and precisely, without errors.
  • In fact, one of their most important functions is to ensure that all the financial data (invoices, receipts, financial statements, etc.) are legally compliant and present a true picture of the financial situation of your business.
  • Perform electronic invoicing or register them so that the invoice and accounting records are up to date.
  • Keep records of payments and purchases, sales and income, so that you can determine through these the related liability for VAT and other taxes payable to the relevant tax authorities.
  • Ensure that your company complies with the dates established by HMRC for submissions, adjust the accounting system in line with any financial regulatory changes, and make sure that the company itself meets all the legal requirements to avoid penalties.

What type of role do you want them to have?

Based on the operations and management structure of your company, you should be able to determine what should be the responsibilities of accountant you hire, and then mutually the scope of their involvement in your business.

Some accountants are more than willing to take on a more active role in SMEs, especially if they have experience in the business sector, and can prove to be a valuable ally in formulating growth strategies and identifying sources of finance for expansion. Others prefer to limit themselves to simply keeping the accounts in order and reporting essential financial data as required.

The exact scope of responsibilities you assign to your accountant will also depend, to a certain extent, on the quality of the relationship you have with them, as in many cases an accountant can become a trusted advisor, business partner, and even friend.

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