Accountants are crucial to any business. Let's unpack what they do.
Have you ever wondered why it’s so important to have an accountant? Or what are the main accounting activities? And as a business owner, what should you talk about with your accountant to get the most out of the service? If so, we have the answers for you. After all, the work of an accountant can turn any average business into a successful one.
Accountancy is a standalone trade for a reason, and it comes with many complexities and skills that cannot be learnt or taught overnight. Below, we are exploring the best-practice daily schedule and functions of an accountant, and everything you need to know to assess how fit your accounting setup is.
The basics: An accountant's best-practice daily schedule
An accountant is a person reliable for the financial state and accounting books of a company or sole trader, and this can be within the private or public sector. Their main task is to record income and expenses in a company’s accounts, whilst remaining compliant to ensure that all transactions are following the legal framework and standardised procedure of the country your business operates in.
The day-to-day tasks include;
- Audits. Example: An accountant has an obligation to ask whether certain expenses are business-relevant.
- Monitoring income and expenses balances. Example: Good accountants don't just document numbers, but email you about significant changes in advance.
- Analysing accounting records. Example: Accountants will go through your records with a fine-tooth comb to ensure there are no errors.
- Ensuring both income and costs are being properly recorded. Example: An accountant is required to ensure the data around your income and expenditure is recorded properly.
- Calculating your cash flow. Example: A great accountant will use a cash flow management tool and find cost savings for your business.
- Verifying the business books and making sure they remain legally compliant. Example: An accountant is legally required to ensure and verify that your business is operating under the laws of your country.
- Preparing budgets. Example: The accountant will frequently compare accounting data with budgeted projections during the budget period and investigate any differences.
- Managing payroll. Example: An accountant might also be responsible for issuing and processing employee pay, commissions, and benefits, ensuring the accuracy of all information and adherence to government policies and guidelines.
- Tax reporting. Example: As you can see, an accountant does many tasks for the taxpayer, and the tax return is one of the biggest – they will file it for you on an annual basis.
The functions of an accountant
- Commercial operations: Analyse budgets for company expenses and compare them so that the decision-makers can choose the most optimal.
- Audit inventory: Keep track of business assets and liabilities.
- Make sure billing is complete: Preparation of invoices and ensuring that they comply with the current legalities of the country your business operates in.
- Reconcile all bank accounts: Bank accounts of the company are controlled by the accountant, so make sure you choose one that you are certain can do the job. They will monitor if there are any discrepancies in the income and expense records.
- Prepare tax returns: Ensure all the relevant taxes and obligations are filed correctly and comply with the current laws.
- Set up Accounting reports: These are crucial to the decision-makers, but also banks use them for loan assessments, and even the regulator requires these documents for tax returns.
- Deliver financial projections: These projections will be vital for predicting and establishing the company’s future strategies.
If your business has got this far without having a trained accountant at your disposal then kudos to you. For future growth, you may want to invest in a seasoned professional and a cash flow management tool to drive your business in an upwards position.
Why a cash flow management tool will set you up for future growth.
Try using a free cash flow management tool such as Airbank. Airbank is a unified financial management solution that marries your bank statements to generate your cash flow statements automatically. That way you don’t have to go through the messy process of waiting for your accounting statements, or transferring and categorising all your transactions yourself.
Airbank allows you to connect your bank accounts, which auto-categorises all your historic transactions. In addition, you can also initiate new payments and have them categorised for your cash flow statements from the get-go as well. Airbank then produces your direct cash flow statement for you in real-time and even lets you input your cash flow forecast numbers in the spreadsheet based on your planned billings.
You can get started for free right here and it only takes minutes → Sign up to Airbank