Every business needs an accountant. However, research from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales suggests that a quarter of businesses did not use an accountant within the year covered by their report. Working with an external accountancy practice is the most common way of engaging with an accountant. But increasingly companies are recognising the benefits of having a financially qualified person within their own team.
What an accountant can do for your business is clear. Helping you pay the right amount of tax, and advising on making the business as tax efficient as possible. Accurate bookkeeping is a key aspect of managing your company finances, and ensuring the correct financial reporting to HMRC is kept up meets your statutory requirements. Compliance with Government requirements can absorb a considerable amount of your time in a larger business and mistakes can be easy and possibly damaging. Without an accountant on hand to support you the potential for issues is high.
But, why is this an argument for having someone with an accounting qualification on your internal finance team? Regulations, particularly those governing larger businesses shift constantly. Having a team member who is up to date on what affects your business, while having the intimate knowledge of the company that only comes from working in it day in and day out can avoid pitfalls and save money. Businesses over a certain size must carry out statutory audits. However, businesses of all sizes can benefit from internal audits. They are an excellent way of keeping your business goals on course, and aligned with the owner or board’s vision for it. An audit provides reassurance and certainty about the health and direction of the business, as well as preparing the ground for a statutory audit. Again this will save time and money and decrease stress on the business and its leadership team.
The responsibility for internal control of the business finances lies with the management team. Having a financially qualified and literate person to advise on areas such as
- Risk assessment, prioritising areas or processes that require attention and audit focus.
- Early warning of deficiencies that need to be identified and remedied.
- Reporting and analysis, interpreting the figures to help management build actions.
An Internal Audit reports directly to management or the Board rather than an outside agency, giving visibility to the strengths and weaknesses of the company financial structure, allowing improvements, cost savings and risk reduction to be implemented in a manner and time frame that suits the business.
Through the Government apprenticeship scheme it is possible to build both the understanding of and commitment to your business that comes from working within it, and the financial qualification and business skills that will benefit your business in the long term. First Intuition’s goal is to develop financially fluent professionals who can make an impact for talent hungry employers. All types of business need team members who have a thorough grounding in financial management, and we are able to fill that need. Get in touch with the First Intuition team in Bristol or call us on 0117 3540190 to discuss how we can help with your apprenticeship plans.