In the midst of the havoc and chaos caused by COVID-19, many heroes have been brought to light. From doctors and teachers to first responders and front line workers, our country navigated the pandemic thanks to the courage and support of so many people willing to step up.
But there’s another, less visible type of hero who is just as important to small business owners, even if they don’t yet know it: the accountant.
As explained by Levi Morehouse, Founder and CEO of Ceterus, small business entrepreneurs (SBEs) “need guides to show them the path, warn of unforeseen dangers, and provide insights from their own experiences and the experiences they’ve witnessed in guiding others.” This is always true, but the economic uncertainty triggered by COVID-19 has added a layer of urgency not experienced during good times.
While accountants certainly serve a fundamental purpose to business owners, they’re especially valuable in times of hardship. Morehouse believes that SBEs need accounting support and advise more than ever right now, especially since “for business owners, 2020 might feel a lot like a real-world destruction of Alderaan.”
With that in mind, Morehouse offers the following thoughts on how accountants can guide SBEs through these challenging and unprecedented times relatively unscathed.
Small Business Financial Consulting
Accounting professionals don’t just balance spreadsheets. In today’s fast-paced business culture, they also need to act as financial consultants. This involves taking a special, personalized interest in each client, understanding their goals, and spending time learning more about their endeavors.
Morehouse explains, “You have access to the ins and outs of their business, so leverage that wisdom to become a strategic partner who guides them toward success.”
When done well, this type of financial consulting can forge valuable partnerships between SBE and accountant.
Small business entrepreneurs are experts in their own industries, but that doesn’t mean they’re financial experts. They rely on their accountants to forecast the economy, make recommendations, and offer guidance on choices.
This is especially relevant in the era of COVID-19. Is a Paycheck Protection loan the best choice to survive a difficult period? How will slower business trends impact the decisions a business owner must make moving forward?
“Industry expertise also arms you with deeper data and knowledge of critical business drivers so you can better advise your clients on how to prepare for the future,” Morehouse states.
Of course, accountants also have access to valuable accounting technologies that SBEs don’t. They can help business owners understand which tools can guide their businesses to the next level. Accounting automation technology, for example, can help business owners spend less time on basic data entry and more time on the issues that matter most.
“Tools that offer industry benchmarks and reporting can help you see trends and guide your clients toward the most successful path,” Morehouse advises accountants.
By fully leveraging the expertise and assistance that accounts can offer, small business entrepreneurs have access to a new type of hero during the pandemic.