Understanding the Benefits of Holistic Accounting
Many of us relate the word ‘holistic’ to the medical field and physical health. However, the concept can also apply to financial health. Until recently, the perception of an accountant’s role in a business has been narrowly defined, and most CPAs have been considered merely as reporters of historical data through reports or tax returns. In our firm, our CPAs deliver a layered, multi-faceted process known as holistic accounting.
What is holistic accounting?
Holistic accounting takes in all the factors affecting a company’s bottom line. A holistic accountant strives to understand the business inside and out by inquisitively investigating the company’s goals, operations, marketing, deliverables, internal controls and other significant activities. Additionally, a holistic accountant gains an understanding of the owner’s lives, preferences and goals to help guide and mold the business to achieve this vision. Taking this approach allows accountants to fully understand a company’s financial picture, assist management with structuring the business and related operations, and identify opportunities for growth or savings along the way. It can also provide information about potential vulnerabilities the company may face financially.
Holistic accounting enables your CPA or accountant to act in an advisory role. Here are a few of the hats a holistic accountant might wear beyond tax preparation or report generation.
1. Financial Quarterback.
The CPA you choose to work with is an integral partner among a team of professionals who guide your business, including a lawyer, financial advisor, bookkeeper, and insurance agent, among others. Your accountant can work with your strategic team to help craft a plan that is effective and comprehensive for your company. For example, your accountant might work with your financial advisor in creating a retirement plan for employees. While the financial advisor might physically set up the plan, the CPA can keep you informed on ways the new plan will impact your company’s finances and taxes.
2. Business Consultant.
While today’s available software tools are robust in their reporting capabilities, they can’t provide the human touch when it comes to understanding and interpreting the data. Your accountant can dig into your numbers and help you understand what they truly mean to your business. Your accountant’s in-depth knowledge of your financial picture can allow them to identify potential opportunities for growth or cost-savings, assist you with budgeting and strategic planning, designing and implementing accounting systems, internal controls, and more. For example, your accountant may analyze your cost of goods sold and notice that growth in one cost area has significantly outpaced other areas. They might bring this to your attention, along with suggestions for how to reduce the cost.
3. Tax Planner.
Is your company paying too much in taxes? Are there ways you can reduce your liability? A CPA can help you create a strategy to potentially minimize your tax burden. This proactive approach looks at many aspects of your business to identify potential savings, including corporate structure, employment taxes, available credits, upcoming expenditures, and more. Discover how tax planning might benefit your business.
4. Technology Guru.
Most companies rely heavily on accounting software to keep financial records organized. But which software program will work best for your unique needs? What functions within the software will be the most beneficial? How should it be setup to fully capture and present the required information?
Does my company need a holistic accountant?
More companies are leaning on their accounting team to assist with choosing accounting software and helping with the set-up process. A holistic accounting team can also provide how-to support for many cloud-based accounting systems, such as QuickBooks OnlineTM. While this doesn’t mean your accountant should replace your technology team, it does mean he or she can act as a resource when you get stuck on a process or don’t know where to find the data you need within your software.
Our firm believes that a holistic approach to accounting allows us to truly act as your financial partner. If you want to work with a CPA that sees and understands your whole financial picture, look for an accountant who views accounting as a piece of the puzzle and strives to understand your business as a whole.