What do you picture when someone mentions the word “accountant?” If you’re like most people, you picture a man with slicked-back hair, thick glasses, and a pocket protector.
This is just one of the many myths and misconceptions that people hold about accountants. Far more than bean counters that do the books, accountants aren’t all that we think they are. It’s time to dispel the myths.
1. Accountant Are Only Concerned with the Past
It’s true that much of an accountants work concentrates on the past business happenings within a company. Accountants are also concerned with the present and the future of the company that they work for.
These professionals are able to help a company stay afloat, and they can help a company turn larger profits.
Accountants are an integral part of business planning, system design, performance management, and profit improvement.
2. Accountants Are Obsessed with Numbers
Accountants work with and for people much more than they work with numbers. According to accounting firm Moore & Smalley, one of the most important things that accountants do is build relationships with people.
After all, you wouldn’t let a complete stranger handle your money, would you? Accountants must build report, and then relationships, with the businesses and people that they serve.
In fact, many accountants receive continuing education in business and personal coaching to better enable themselves to help clients reach their goals.
3. Accountants Know Nothing About Running a Business
If there’s one myth that is easy to dispel it’s this one. Accountants are actually well-versed in the day-to-day operations of keeping a business running.
While some accountants work for major companies, others are in business for themselves. No accountant could stay in operation if he didn’t know a thing or two about what it takes to run a business.
Don’t assume that if an accountant works for someone else that he doesn’t know how to work for himself; consider the fact that he simply prefers working for someone else.
4. Accountants Are Stiff and Impersonal
Just because someone enjoys working with numbers doesn’t make him a boring, uninteresting person. Accountants come from all walks of life. Accountants are people with families, interests, and hobbies, just like you.
These people enjoy a good party, play sports and participate in leisure activities. When someone tells you that he is an accountant, don’t assume that he’s a stick in the mud; assume that he’s great with numbers.
5. Accountants Do Not Take Part in Innovation
It’s true that accountants are usually the practical o the bunch. What isn’t true, however, is that accountants aren’t creatures of innovation. When it comes to making sweeping changes or updates, accountants are integral cogs in the process.
Even if accountants themselves are not the ones thinking outside of the box, their stability and sure-headedness are the reason that concepts are turned into reality. These professionals help the flighty stay grounded, and make sure that managers establish practices that deliver.
Hopefully, the next time you meet an accountant, you’ll have better insight into who he really is. Not all accountants are number-crunching nerds; some actually have exciting lives outside of the cubicle.
It’s dangerous to make assumptions about anyone you don’t know; keep your mind open and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
‘The best things in life are free. But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees. Now give me money, that’s what I want…’
…So sang New-Wave one hit wonders The Flying Lizards in 1979. In 2012’s stuttering economy, those lyrics hold even more resonance. Everyone wants money but there’s not much about, particularly for startup businesses.
For the majority looking to start up it’s harder than ever to get their hands on the external help or capital they may need to get on their feet. They’re effectively bootstrapped.
Trading as a bootstrapped business is not necessarily a bad thing; it frees you from the prying eyes and interference of outside investors, leaving you to run your business effectively as you wish.
You’re self-sufficient. It can prove huge stress though, particularly with regards to managing your cash flow. It’s easy to lose track of ingoings and outgoings, making it problematic to gain an idea of revenue figures.
The potential for financial Armageddon can loom large should you not keep on top of your accounts, more specifically your cash flow.
This process of keeping on top of your cash flow previously involved mountains of paperwork and long, arduous meetings with your accountant. It wasn’t the most effective method of accounting, particularly for a time-poor small business whose day could be better spent trying to drum up business required to make their company a success.
Fortunately, the online accounting revolution has provided a solution for bootstrapped businesses, making keeping track of cash flow easier, providing them with the potential to go almost completely solo until they’re on their feet.
Some accountants are having the packages that are tailored for small, bootstrapped businesses, giving them a fighting chance of making their business a success.
Most of the packages provide easy access to a balance sheet, profit and loss account, trial balance and details regarding aged creditors and debtors, all via their innovative cloud software.
Elsewhere, the accountant package provides users with the ability to generate and send unlimited invoices, whilst also providing notification of overdue payments. The ability to upload and store expense receipts is another innovative feature, rendering the shoebox method of storing receipts obsolete.
The age-old adage is that ‘50% of businesses fail within their first year’. That figure is probably higher given the current economic predicament where accountants finding themselves in. Casting an eye over many of these failed businesses in the majority of cases you’ll find that poor cash flow management played a large part.