One of the things that I have learned over the years is this: nobody cares as much for your own money as yourself. You are the one that has invested the sweat and tears to earn it, and you should be the one that cares the most about keeping as much as possible for you and your family. Having said that, it does not mean that you won’t benefit from someone helping you along the way. I emphasize the word “helping” because I do not mean it in the way you might expect. The mistake that many individual make is thinking that they can hire a professional and expect the professional to take ALL of the responsibility to solve the problem whatever it might be.
For example, you may think you have hired the best dentist in the world to “take care”of your teeth. That is a false premise. The dentist can not “take care of your teeth”. All he can do is fix the problems when YOU don’t take care of your teeth. The same philosophy can be had for just about any profession. What do Attorney’s do? Much of the time they fix problems YOU created, or they help you to avoid problems that might arise without their help.
I am finally getting to the Accounting profession. I view the accounting profession as a partnership between the client and the accountant. Just like most partnerships both partners need to perform their prospective labor or the partnership is doomed from the beginning. It is very difficult for the working partner when the other partner doesn’t seem to care about what the working partner is doing; Sometimes the partner that is disengaged might somehow think that the working partner is just fine and “everything will work out”. Sooner or later there is going to be a split and one or the other is going to be very unhappy.
May I suggest that many people using public accountants think they don’t need to be engaged in the accounting process and that the accountant will “some how make everything work out”. The tax laws and business dealings can be very intricate and complicated. If the client does not take the time to educate the accountant on the business dealing and feed him information – one of two things will eventually happen. The accountant will either become frustrated and fire the client, or the client will wonder why the accountant isn’t doing what he expects, and he will fire the accountant. Just like the financial advisor, or dentists, the client has some responsibility to himself. In this case, the client has the responsibility to provide the documents necessary to do the work. The client needs to be engaged enough to show that he even cares about his own business. The client has the responsibility to follow the advice of the accountant. If he doesn’t why did he hire the accountant in the first place?
Business owners need to be engaged in the proper handling of their business whether they do their own accounting or not. I am continually surprised how many business owners who use QuickBooks don’t even know how to print a profit and loss statement – or even know what one is. For those who have an accountant, many of business people have the opinion that they are too busy to sit down and discuss the business or the direction it is taking.
May I suggest that you as a business owner make yourself an equal partner with your accounting professional. Things will work much smoother and you will get a much greater value from the accountant.