Accountants find many ways to make clients happy in order to maintain long-term customers. The trick is to let clients know they need you even when it's not tax time. Giving relevant tips on how to secure a business loan presents one opportunity for value-added accounting during off-peak times.
Businesses increasingly turn to accountants for financial advice since accountants are intimately familiar with a client's financials. A firm can do some quick research on a client to ascertain debt load, cash flow, revenue streams and expenses. The firm can then determine whether a business loan represents a good option based on a company's specific situation. An accountant can become a trusted adviser — more than just a tax professional and bookkeeper.
Smaller companies could benefit most from a business loan, based on statistics from 2014. Smaller companies increased debt by $12 billion from 2013 to 2014, the first time that number has increased since 2010. U.S. banks cover more than $630 billion in small business debt. This means accountants can take advantage of a good lending climate.
First, accountants can help firms qualify their needs for a business loan. What is the loan's purpose? Is the company just starting out, or does it need more money to grow? Does the business need to buy equipment, hire more workers, increase space or a combination of the three? Lenders need to know the purpose of the loan as part of the examination process.
Accountants then ascertain if a business loan is the right move for a client. This is where value-added accounting truly helps because a professional can examine relevant data to determine if a business can afford to take on more debt. Companies must be able to make extra monthly payments and take on debt service. Accountants can show what the lending industry looks for in a solid customer.
In short, an accountant becomes a risk manager for taking on more debt and larger expenses. You can use big data, cloud computing and integrated software to delve deep into a client's books and see if a business can secure debt. Suggest remedies for any shortfalls or red flags that banks may discover.
Finally, accountants help present findings to lenders as part of the loan application process. Many banks and lenders require audit statements from businesses before considering a loan. Help your client by suggesting steps to improve an audit ahead of a loan application. Improve a customer's chances by seeing the loan process from a bank's perspective — what the institution looks for when it issues credit based on collateral, capital, capacity, conditions and character of the business.
Accountants are trained to find financial benefits for customers, and a business loan represents an opportunity for company growth. Help a client secure additional financing, and you prove your worth to your customer beyond the traditional scope of the accounting profession.
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