Here’s what you know: your accountant can do your taxes.

But here’s what you might not know: your accountant can also help you accomplish your business goals.

Accountants build up both financial and business acumen throughout their careers, and they’re often willing to share their knowledge with clients.

San Francisco-based financial systems advisor Danetha Doe enjoys working with clients to unlock growth in their businesses.

For example, Doe had a client who was a pillow designer. “She made ready-to-go pillows to sell on her website,” says the former controller. “She had over 30 options on her website and very little revenue to show for it.” She needed to improve her sales, but how?

Solving problems like this comes easier when you grasp certain business realities.

Ditch the shoebox

Keeping your business records in a shoebox? Not sure why you feel uneasy about your company’s financial records? Wondering if the shoebox and the uneasiness are connected?

You can reduce that stress by maintaining proper bookkeeping systems. (Shoeboxes and Excel don’t count.)

To help her clients, Doe steers clients to applications that make sophisticated tasks easy, such as:

  • Linking to bank accounts
  • Enabling invoice payment tracking
  • Showing money spent on the business

These tools help provide a clear picture of a business’s health. Once business owners effectively and habitually use such systems, they understand their businesses well enough to improve them.

Remember that client of Doe’s who sells customized designer pillows? “We looked through her sales and got clear on which pillows were selling and which ones were not,” says Doe. “We cut her site down to five options, which increased the sales of her pillows and decreased her purchasing costs.”

Could you imagine digging through a shoebox for insights like this?

Set a destination

Another client shared her ambitious goals with Doe:

  1. To expand her business from a mobile clothing boutique to a brick-and-mortar shop
  2. To purchase a home

For many entrepreneurs, this might seem like a “one or the other” situation. So Doe took a look at each:

1. Brick-and-mortar

The boutique wasn’t generating enough revenue to land a prime retail location. Doe noted it also had substantial inventory costs and no room in the budget for marketing.

Doe steered her client to Storenvy, a business that, among other services, handles inventory at a cost lower than the client’s previous inventory service provider. It also provides marketing to its members when they use the platform to create online stores.

Best of all, Storenvy also helps select small businesses rent retail space at discounted rates in a prestigious San Francisco retail location.

2. Getting a mortgage

To become mortgage-worthy in the eyes of a bank, Doe advised her client to take certain concrete steps:

  • The clothing boutique owner was already incorporated when she came to Doe. This made effective separation of personal and business expenses more straightforward.
  • The client stopped writing off home office and internet access expenses to the business to reduce business expenses and improve the bottom line.
  • She advised her client to reflect slow-selling inventory as an asset rather than an expense in her financial records.

The result? Doe’s client and her husband bought a house in the San Francisco Bay area.

Your accountant has more to offer

Doe is a great example of someone who is focused on the health of her clients’ businesses and their financial health. She goes beyond alleviating the stress at tax time to identify issues and opportunities for her client.

Doe is just one of thousands of accountants whose expertise ranges beyond bookkeeping. If you’re having difficulty in your business and want to improve your financial performance to reach your goals, consider discussing your challenges with your accountant. You might just get the business insights you need.

AvatarBrandon Chu

Brandon Chu is a Senior Product Manager at FreshBooks, the Cloud Accounting solution helping 5 million users invoice their clients with ease. Use their free invoice template to easily send an online invoice now.