This is an extract from an email I got from Peter Carruthers.
Being the non accounting type that I am, I thought I'd share it with everyone.
Just in case you have the same problems. Here goes:
14 Things Your Accountant Wants You to Know…
Hell, but I struggled to write this. It exposed my own weaknesses. And all my biases. It's based on 60 heartfelt responses from business owners. And 16 sincere responses from accountants. About each others' roles.
I hope it helps you:
What accountants want business owners to know…
Tell us everything. Don’t lie. Don’t ask us to risk disbarment. Our career (and lifetime income) is worth more than your short-term cash flow challenge. And we know you will sing like a canary when SARS offers you accommodation at Pollsmoor.
We know more about tax than you do. Much more than you remember from your mate at Friday’s braai after your 12th beer. If you want an opinion, pretend that we are like your doctor who charges each time you visit. No matter the reason.
Give us all your paperwork. Every VAT claim and every tax deduction needs proof. If you can't prove it with paper we can't prove it to SARS.
You are not our only client. Don’t bring us your work at the last minute and expect instant service. We have clients ahead of you in the queue. Many of whom pay us without complaint. And some of whom actually pay us on time.
We do history, not fortune-telling. Our job is to match your 12 month old pile of paper to SARS needs. We don’t do financial planning, AKA fortune telling.
Your job is to forecast cashflows. And to pay your suppliers on time. And to get payment from your clients on time. And to have enough cash ready when the government sends its bill. That’s why you run you your own business. And make all that money. It’s your job to do enough bookkeeping to achieve this. (Bookkeeping is what you do to to keep your paperwork in order. Like keeping track of invoices (in and out) and cash flows (in and out).)
Read every every piece of paper before you throw it into a box. That way you see issues before they're looming crises. At the very least, open your bank statement and check it each month.
If you want advice, ask first. Before you act. And tell us everything. It takes time to consider all your facets. Expect to pay for such time. Don’t ask for free resuscitation services after you’ve screwed the pooch.
We do numbers better than we do people.If you want a warm relationship, get a dog. Please treat said dog better than you treat us. We also don’t do imagination. SARS does not like creative and you don’t pay us enough to risk you getting an audit.
Your bank statement is not a cash flow statement. Your business won’t survive if more cash goes out than comes in. Nobody cares if you're unprofitable. But miss one payment and the world notices. Survival means getting the cash in faster than paying the cash out.
We don’t work for the government. We don’t make the rules. We spend years at learning to adjust to each new government foible. And swathes of time afterwards. Our job is to keep them off your back. We know how violent your complaint is when you get audited.
Do not pay personal bills from your business bank account.......
And a whole lot more.
You can read the full article on Pete's Blog Here.
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