3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Gregory J. Skoda is the chairman and co-founder of Skoda Minotti. He specializes in helping clients to grow and develop their businesses, and he also works with clients in developing and implementing strategic plans, providing creative business and personal tax planning, succession, estate planning, wealth accumulation strategies, and assisting with mergers, acquisitions and dispositions.

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

There are not enough people who are willing to take the time to sit down with their accountants at the beginning of a time period or at the beginning of the year and really lay out what’s best for them over the next 12 months. What do they really need? What are their priorities? Where can they get the biggest bang for their buck? How can they use their accountants and anybody else their accountants may influence? That conversation doesn’t take place nearly often enough, and it drives a lot of other things.

Q. What information should a company share with its accountant?

If you produce an internal financial report, how often are you sharing that with your external accountants? If you’re sharing that once a year, they’re probably historians, not advisers. If you’re sharing that with your accountants once a month and you’re talking about all the information, then your accountant is more of an adviser. If you’re preparing a monthly financial statement, we’d like to see it. If you’re sending information to the bank, send it to us first.

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

There are a lot of historical savings. What are my accounting fees? It’s really important to sit down with your accounting partner and ask, ‘What am I spending money on?’ and, ‘What do I need to be spending money on?’ and, ‘Do I really need all of this stuff?’ You would be amazed at the amount of clients who are doing far more work in an area than they need to. What is really needed here? You can really drive down your cost structure.