3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Rick Rayson has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, including 20 years as a partner, during which he has worked with companies in the realms of technology, energy, manufacturing, distributing and media. He is Deloitte’s regional managing partner of audit and enterprise risk services in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

Q. How often should a company meet with its accountant?

In this age, we’re all Twittering, but I think constant and consistent communication does get back to the personal relationship and trust — though the number of meetings does depend on the nature of the relationship and the size of the company. I use Twitter because that’s the big buzzword. I was just reading about the resistance some people have to this, but I think e-mails and texts help, particularly in real time because the world moves very fast and timing can be critical. But there is the risk that if you don’t meet face to face and set the agenda, you can have missed communication, you can have ambiguity in the messages, you can reach wrong conclusions. When you’re really tackling the complex issues, there’s nothing like the face to face to make sure you’re really getting everything on the table.

Q. How can an accountant save money for a company?

Taxes are a great example, either income taxes or sales taxes. Accounting firms normally have very appropriate tax planning techniques and strategies. Internal accountants typically look for waste in the operations or manufacturing that can lead to cost savings, and external accountants have a broad perspective of what they’ve seen other clients doing. Analysis can really drive down cost or increase revenue production.

Q. How should a client prepare for an audit?

Tackle the tough stuff first. Get that on the table as it happens during the year. Depending on the level of complexity of your accounting department and your systems, there are a lot of documents and analyses that are just prepared in the normal course of closing your books and completing your evaluations. I would encourage companies to ask their accounting firms how much of that information could be used.