You may be forgetting a key team member…

An old adage states that great leaders surround themselves with great advisors. Complementarily, Andrew Carnegie once said, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.”

In keeping with this issue’s theme of sports and recreation, I recall an interview I once watched of Dan Bylsma, then-head coach of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. In describing the role of the head coach in the NHL, he said that baseball had it right by titling its head-coach equivalent as a “manager.” In addition to managing the team’s players, Bylsma was in charge of his own coaching staff: his advisors. As many successful head coaches do, he gave much of the credit for his own success to the team’s assistant coaches.

Utilizing a Valuable Resource
Every successful sports team has great management and coaching, and it doesn’t stop with the general manager or head coach—these leadership roles rely on assistants and advisors to help in many ways. The same can be said for every successful business and its management. However, one key advisor whom management may not always think of is its CPA (certified public accountant).

For some businesses, the relationship with their CPA is rather simple: once a year, they drop off their financial records, and the CPA prepares the company’s tax return. If that’s the case, you may be underutilizing a valuable resource. Sure, a CPA can help you with compliance (e.g., an annual tax return or an audit required by the bank), but he or she can also do much more. In today’s ever-changing, technology-driven world, CPAs are spending less time “crunching numbers” and more time advising, consulting and solving problems. So why not take advantage of that?

Some of the traditional services a CPA or CPA firm can provide include: bookkeeping and financial statement preparation, payroll administration, tax return preparation and attest work (audits, reviews and compilations). Classifying these services as “traditional” is not to take away from their importance or to say these services don’t have value; quite the opposite is true. For example, while an audit can satisfy an external requirement, a well-performed audit can also provide valuable information to management and shareholders to help them make important financial decisions and improve performance.

Beyond Traditional Services
Beyond traditional services, a CPA or CPA firm can perform many other functions you may not think about often, if at all, which are more consulting and advisory in nature. Some of these “non-traditional” services a CPA can provide for your business include:

The purpose of this article is not to sell you on the services the CPA profession provides, but to enlighten you of the many matters on which your CPA can advise you. Understandably, there are numerous other examples of services CPAs can perform that are not covered here, including services to individuals. However, in summary, a good CPA will look to provide as much value as possible with each service he or she provides. So if you are ever making a business decision, financially-related or not, and wonder if your CPA would have any thoughts, there is a good chance he or she does… and working with your CPA from the beginning could save you a lot of time and money in the end. iBi

Joe Tibbs, CPA is a senior accountant in the Consulting Department at Heinold Banwart, Ltd. He may be reached at (309) 694-4251 or [email protected]