The saying “it’s lonely at the top” can feel very real for many business owners and leaders. According to research, nearly 50% of business owners and managers handle finance and accounting themselves. While generally confident that they’re delivering on administrative tasks, the same study shows that nearly 30% have been audited or have received a notice from the IRS.1 It’s all fine until it’s not, perhaps.
Who is the business owner or manager’s most trusted advisor? Survey1 says: the CPA. When an accountant knows the client’s business and can offer strategic support, nearly 9 out of 10 small- and medium-sized (SMB) business owners see them as their most important trusted advisor.
Strategic accounting is about more than tax filing and running the numbers. It’s about knowing the client’s business, financial challenges and opportunities, and empowering the company to succeed in today’s business landscape.
Let’s take a closer look.
What are accounting advisory services?
You may have heard the term “accounting advisory services,” but what does it really mean? There are very important areas where business owners and managers often need assistance, and a CPA can frequently fill these gaps.
Traditional accounting services are focused on historical data and compliance. Examples of common traditional accounting services include bookkeeping, creating financial reports, and tax preparation and filing; all of which are musts for the business and business owners. Accounting practitioners have long worked with businesses to address these areas of need.
Accounting advisory services, on the other hand, focus on providing expert guidance that goes beyond traditional accounting and that has implications for both the present and future. These services help business owners make more informed business decisions, decrease business risk, generate more revenue, and increase profitability. They can also help business owners make strategic decisions about the future of their business, from launching new products or divisions to evaluating merger, acquisition, or exit opportunities.
Accounting advisory services are ongoing, too. They bring accountant and client together regularly over the year—not just during tax season, for example—to work toward current and future goals for the business. It’s about going beyond numbers and spreadsheets to create impact and outcomes.
Strategic Accounting Advisory Services
XPECT provides strategic advisory services to clients across a variety of industry categories and in various stages of business maturity, from start-ups to established businesses with years of experience in their industry. Examples of the types of services provided in this category include the following:
- Outsourced Controller Services
A business may not need a full-time controller or simply may not have the budget to hire one. A fractional controller can provide a solution to this problem. A fractional controller will bring the experience and insight required to not only get your accounting on track so that you have accurate, reliable, and timely information to run your business, but will also assist in the development of the procedures and controls necessary to protect assets and the integrity of accounting information and assist in educating employees on how the system works.
- US Entry Accounting Services
For Japanese businesses launching operations in the United States, these services are designed to provide a convenient solution for you to get your business off to a good start. Services include applying for tax identification numbers, state registrations, and accounting and payroll set up, in addition to more traditional accounting services such as monthly close, payroll processing, and preparation and filing of federal and state income and business tax returns. In short, all aspects of getting your financial operations going are managed for you.
A fractional CFO provides value in the areas of finance, cash management, budgeting, and evaluating investment alternatives. For example, a business looking at an acquisition will benefit from the insight a fractional CFO can bring to the table. A fractional CFO is also able to guide the business in implementing an effective budgeting process to provide management with an effective tool useful in evaluating business results.
Executive clarity is a service designed to provide greater insight into the business to management and decision makers. This involves first identifying the key data that tells the story of the business and the key factors impacting results. With the data profile in hand, an analysis is done on either a monthly or quarterly basis to evaluate results and then a strategic meeting is held with management or the leadership team to review results, identify issues, and develop action plans for the next month or quarter.
- Business Process Improvement Services
Clarifying how your business operates provides a number of benefits. These benefits include enhanced operational effectiveness, transferability in the event of employee turnover, and identification of areas of operational weakness or a lack of internal control.
When you are ready to engage a trusted partner for strategic accounting advisory services, XPECT can help. XPECT professional services are designed to support the unique and specific needs of small and mid-size businesses. XPECT is focused on helping businesses optimize business strategy, enhance operational effectiveness, and successfully leverage accounting as a strategic tool, so that business leaders can focus on the strategic aspects of growing the business and achieving business goals. Learn more at www.xpectup.com.
1 Brown, Elliott. “2019 Small Business Finance and HR Report.” OnPay, 16 Feb. 2023, https://onpay.com/hr/basics/2019-small-business-finance-hr?channel=survey-press-release. Accessed March 2023.