By Princess Jones

Whether you’re running a one-man shop from your kitchen table or a corporation with hundreds of employees, there are certain accounting tasks that all businesses must perform on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. From taxes to payroll to profit and loss analysis, an accountant can help you keep track of the dollars and cents. And if you want to keep your small business accountant happy, follow these tips for a harmonious relationship.

1. Get Organized

If your business works with client-provided materials or information, you already know how frustrating it is to step into a messy situation while they expect miracles. Accounting is a very detailed process that requires organization from start to finish. Disorganization is how mistakes happen. If you show up with a disorganized mess, you’re essentially telling your accountant that she has to start her job by fixing your problem. There are some agencies that even charge extra for this. There are others that won’t touch your account if you don’t have your records in order. So do yourself and your accountant a favor. Get organized before you give your accountant the information.

2. Go Digital

It’s also important for your accountant to be able to access all of the information necessary to do his job. If every time he needs a new piece of information, you have to dig into the bottom drawer in your file cabinet and have an assistant take it over to his office, it makes it more difficult for him to be effective. It also puts your documents at risk for being lost or damaged because you’re always working with an original copy. Receipts, records, and other necessary documentation should be digitally delivered. It’s more efficient and if something is damaged, you can always just download another copy.

3. Take the Advice You Paid For

You don’t have to take every piece of advice given to you. However, your accountant is a professional you have chosen to help you with your business financials. You probably pay him well for his expertise. If he offers you advice, make sure you that you think long and hard before discarding it. And if you don’t take your accountant’s advice, be prepared to pay extra to have your mistakes fixed.

4. Be Truthful

Having an accountant work with your business is a lot like having a doctor work with your personal health. They start by assessing where you are and then work to maintain or improve the situation over time. Not being truthful about what’s happening is like not telling your doctor about the pain in your side while expecting her to heal it. Be truthful with your accountant about your finances. Tell her what’s going on and why. Be open about your goals or issues. Your finances — and your freedom, depending on the structure of your business — may depend on it.

What tips do you have for working effectively with an accountant?