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How a Professional Accountant (SA) Can Help You Grow Your Business

The SA Institute for Professional Accountants (SAIPA), is calling on small business owners to actively involve their accountants in their company growth plans. SAIPA says this is one of the easiest and most effective things business owners can do now to help grow their operations.

“When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to become isolated and not know where to turn for help,” says SAIPA technical executive Faith Ngwenya. “However, the good advice you need could be as close as the accountant who prepares your financial statements and handles your tax matters; you just need to talk to them!”

According to Ngwenya, SAIPA’s more than 6000 members, who are recognised as Professional Accountants (SA), do way more than simply crunch numbers and produce financial reports. “In fact, given the years of experience that many Professional Accountants (SA) have in assisting SMEs, they’re arguably the best source of advice on what businesses should be doing to grow,” she says. “Added to this is the fact that many Professional Accountants (SA) specialise in a given sector, so if you have a business in that sector, it just makes sense to talk to such an expert.”

With a particular focus on skills development, SAIPA has urged government and other stakeholders to do more to help SME owners to assist, sustain and grow their businesses. “As the engine-room of the economy, we believe it’s important that a major focus be placed on helping SMEs to create jobs, and not just on pumping money into helping big corporate do this,” adds Ngwenya.

“Given the extensive knowledge and practical experience of our members, together with the ongoing skills training they receive, we believe Professional Accountants (SA) are in a position to play a unique and vital role in supporting job creation in South Africa as they add value to their clients’ businesses,” she says.

Having been approached for advice, Ngwenya says the first thing the Professional Accountant (SA) will do is consider where the small business is right now and what its potential for growth is. “This is where proper record-keeping is absolutely essential – an area of weakness for many small companies that could see them going out of business.”

“Typically, the Professional Accountant (SA) will focus on ascertaining the businesses’ cash flow situation and identifying areas in which it can streamline operations and reduce costs,” she says.

“With an understanding of the larger context in which the business operates, the Professional Accountant (SA) will also examine potential risks it faces, with a particular focus on ensuring that the company adheres to legislation, for example, in terms of the new Companies Act and Taxation Laws.”

Another important point is accountants’ access to resources that can help businesses grow, for example, government’s many assistance programmes under the Department of Trade & Industry. “The Professional Accountant (SA) will typically be well-versed in how the business can access finance as well as support programmes that are designed to help it to grow, such as export programmes and export and tax incentives that are available.”

In this regard, the government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (2010-2013) may be particularly helpful in highlighting economic sectors that are poised for growth and warning businesses in other sectors of potential tough times ahead. “The government has identified areas in which potential exists for jobs to be created and it’s in these areas that it will be investing money over the next five years,” says Ngwenya.

“So, it just makes sense that small business owners talk to their accountants for help with accessing and maximising the opportunities that exist.” The bottom line is that, it’s not just big companies that should have strategic plans in place. “If you, as a small business owner, wish to grow, you need a five to 10 year plan to help you do that,” she says.

“Else, if you don’t start doing something differently, how can you expect different results?” “With today’s rapidly changing economic landscape SMEs are seeking specialised accountancy services, objective guidance, and trusted business advice more than ever before. The Professional Accountant (SA) can be counted upon to help, possessing the financial and business skills as indicated above, that are crucial both for your business’s survival and growth as well as cost- effective compliance with regulation” says Ngwenya.

“Every small business owner needs someone to talk to who can help take their business to the next level,” concludes Ngwenya. “Make sure you talk to your Professional Accountant (SA) today!”