When something changes in business, the logistics and operational departments are often the first to know, but what about the accountants? It can be hard to know exactly what your accountant needs to be aware of and when. Most accountants would respond by saying they need to know everything, but that’s a little daunting. The honest answer is that there is no right answer, but there are some key questions you can ask yourself to make sure your accountant is in the loop.
- Did anything happen that affected cash?
- Did the company start any new lines of business?
- Did the company experience significant growth recently?
Did anything happen that affected cash?
Not only will this question preemptively answer questions that are bound to come up during the bank reconciliation process, but by telling your accountant ahead of time what to expect to see in the bank you can save both of you time. For example, when a vehicle owned by the company is totaled in an accident, your insurance company will send you a check to deposit. But your accountant also needs to know which vehicle this was, the details of the insurance claim, and if you will be buying another vehicle in the future. By telling your accountant when the accident happens, they can give you a list of information they will need so that you aren’t scrambling to find the information at the end of a month when there is already a time crunch.
Did the company start any new lines of business?
Starting a new line of business is a large undertaking that can have a ripple effect on your general ledger. Will there need to be new accounts created? Will there be new facilities rented or built? Are there specialized accounting rules for your industry? By telling your accountant that the company is expanding into new arenas, your accountant can do research and work to make sure that any transitions go smoothly when the new line of business is up and running.
Did the company experience any significant growth recently?
Significant growth in revenue will likely cause some questions from your accountant at the end of the month. If this is communicated prior to the end of the month, your accountant may have some insights into how this growth will affect your bottom line, and your accountant can help strategize for sustainable growth in the business.
These questions are a glimpse into what your accountant needs to know to be useful to you. The bottom line is that open communication with your accountant will only help you and your accountant in the long run. More often than not, useful information is shared in passing at a weekly or monthly meeting when having a general discussion about the state of the business, but these talking points will help avoid surprises and allow your accountant to offer valuable insights into your business.