3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Terry O’Neil has more than two decades of experience in accounting, including 10 years with Katz, Sapper & Miller. As the partner-in-charge of the Emerging Business Group at the firm, he provides emerging companies with the business, financial and tax advice to assist with the growth and management of their businesses.

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

Everything should be shared with the accountant, without question, particularly the business, financial and tax strategies of the company. Those are three critical items that we, as accountants, need to know and understand. We need to know, what is their plan? Where are they going with their business? When we are with our clients, we talk about where they want to go with their business, what their goals are.

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

We try to help our clients improve their cash flow by challenging the way their accounts receivables are being managed, working with their management team to increase inventory turnover and helping implement sales between purchasing to make sure we’re not carrying too much inventory. I think one of the most important things from an accounting perspective is setting up the proper budgets and projections for the management of the business to use so they can monitor their cash flow and there aren’t going to be surprises. Management can be proactive, rather than reactive, by having those systems in place.

Q. How should a client prepare for an audit?

You absolutely have to stay in communication with your auditors and discuss what the financial performances are for the year. Are there any new developments in the business? Are there any specific areas of concern for the audit? In terms of the schedule, what are the audit timelines and due dates? Some other items are, from a client’s perspective, paying very close attention to the information request of the auditors and making sure the information is complete the day the auditor shows up — and, please, not waiting until the day we show up to start asking questions. Communication should happen on the front end.