3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Stephen D. Mayer has almost three decades of experience working with businesses and individuals to provide a variety of accounting, tax, consulting and wealth management services. His professional experience includes a wide range of services, including financial statements, implementation of computer and accounting systems, and preparation of forecast and budgets, among many others. He is also the founder and managing partner of Burr Pilger Mayer.

Q. How should a client prepare for an audit?

The best way to prepare is for the client to pretend like they’re doing their own audit and for them to figure out what information they would need to do the work efficiently. Then the client needs to pull together that information and build a team of people who are going to work with the accounting firm. That group ought to have a meeting prior to doing the work where things are planned and timetables are arranged. When the audit is over, that same group should sit down and figure out what went right, what went wrong and how to improve the process the next year.

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

There are two ways to save money — you can either cut expenses or you can grow revenues. If you’re working with a client and their revenue has disappeared, you have to cut expenses. But if you’re working with a business that is still doing OK, there are a million opportunities out there to expand. Most people think the answer is to spend less, but you never make it work in the long term by cutting expenses.

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

The company should share all information. There’s some information that’s more important than other information — we don’t need to know that they’re buying a new fax machine or that they’re changing the color of the carpet in the conference room — but they should share anything that’s related to the business. What’s happening with the industry? What’s happening with the local economy? What’s happening with your customer base? Are there any risks or problem areas? If they don’t share all that, we can’t do a good and thorough job. It’s a partnership.