3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Brian D. Malthouse has almost three decades of experience in the accounting industry, including almost 20 years with VonLehman & Co. Inc., where he specializes in working with closely held, middle-market companies with revenue between $3 million and $90 million. He was promoted to president of the firm in October.

Q. In a struggling economy, how can a business get the most from its relationship with an accountant?

Your accountant can only help you if you share the good and the bad and they know what’s going on in your business. They have a very broad perspective because they see so many different clients in so many different industries. What you’re trying to get out of your accountant are best practices, what he or she sees from their clients. In order to get the most out of the relationship, you have to invest the time, and you have to keep your accountant up to date and informed as often as possible.

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

You have to figure out what key statistics drive the business, then measure those statistics as often as you can. You don’t have to look at a million different things. Most businesses have two or three key drivers that indicate whether you’re going to be successful. Figure those out and measure them as often as you can.

Q. How might a company be able to save money when it comes to accounting costs?

It is in our best interest to keep the cost down as much as possible for compliance work. What I generally tell my clients is to take pride in their financial statements and make sure they can really document every number on their balance sheet, then store all the documents that support your balance sheet. The more pride people take in their financial statements and the more prepared they are at year-end, that’s where you really save that money. Accountants always end up helping people get their financial statements where they need to be. The more you can eliminate that step, the more money you can save.