Rescuing the Small Business Owner

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Small business owners may talk a good game when describing their accounting skills, but a new survey by Staples found that a mere 45 percent of small business owners are able to define basic accounting principles. Ouch.

That means basic terms like “accounts payable” simply aren’t in the small business owner’s repertoire. What is perhaps more shocking is that the survey also found that 19 percent of small business owners have even socked money away in non-traditional places, like their car or their desk.

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This survey revealed two, major issues:

  1. Understanding finances and business performance is crucial for small business success.
  2. Small businesses are often unaware of available resources that may help improve their bottom line.

The Staples survey also showed that 40 percent of small business owners express regret about not being knowledgeable about management. And the fact that three out of four businesses fail within the first five years, primarily due to accounts receivable and waste, clearly shows that accounting, risk management, and finance are usually not the strength of the small business owner.

It’s no secret why small business owners give little time to their finances, as they are busy building their business. Therefore, it is in a small business’ best interest to hire an expert accountant to ensure that finances are properly handled, waste and fraud are eliminated, and laws are followed.

What many small business owners have found (after much trial and error) that the work of a qualified accounting professional provides a solid return on their investment and leaves them time to concentrate on building their business.

Marketing your accounting services to small business therefore requires understanding the mindset of the small business owner and adapting your marketing strategy to reflect this. The best accountants are those who can convince small business owners that they can achieve their financial goals through proper financial planning tools and resources and who can take the time to explain the far-reaching benefits of strong accounting practices.