What does my Accountant do, really?

What does my Accountant do, really?

So what do Accountants do and why do you need others like bookkeepers?  Well there are a few types of Accountants and the definition of bookkeepers can be wide and varied, but who do you need to help you with your business?

Tax Accountant (definitely need one) will assist with:

  • Business setup
  • Taxation compliance
  • Just about anything tax related

A Management Accountant (that’s me) will help you analyse your business results and work with you to understand your business, the drivers and how to improve them.

A bookkeeper will help keep all of your bookwork organised and recorded accurately.

Sometimes you will find a bookkeeper who can do what a management accountant does, an sometimes you will find a tax accountant who will work with you to understand your business.  But in my experience this is a rarity rather than the norm.

I wanted to distinguish these roles to highlight what expectations you should have when engaging their services.

As I mentioned before a tax accountant will handle your taxation requirements and although some will assist you with understanding your business, most are so busy “doing” compliance work that they are unable to spend the time with you (and it can be mighty expensive) to discuss your business.  So most tax accountants can really only help you out with tax in relation to your business.

A management accountant on the other hand, can help you to understand your business because they work with you on the operational side to see what is happening.  They will not understand the taxation implications of things and should in all cases refer you to your tax accountant.

A great bookkeeper is a godsend and can be worth their weight in gold.  How do you find one?  Well I find that if they love to be organised and love paperwork, then they are passionate about bookkeeping.  That’s what you want,someone that is passionate about your bookwork.

So who do you need in your business?  Definately a tax accountant and perhaps you want to understand the numbers in your business, then you need a management accountant.  A bookkeeper is a must if you hate paperwork, give the task to someone who truly enjoys it.

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