Helping Clients Navigate Challenges to Running a Business

CPAs can expand their service offerings beyond tax preparation by helping businesses with startup, expansion, and the ongoing challenges to keeping a company well-financed and growing. The following are a few suggestions. 

Business idea evaluation: Not every business idea is a good one, and even good business ideas may need some tweaking. Entrepreneurs often need help evaluating all the potential costs involved in producing and selling their product, besides additional market pressures such as competition and regulations, to determine if the business idea would be profitable. 

Choosing a business entity: Help your clients evaluate the best business structure – C corporation, S corporation, LLC, sole proprietor, or partnership – whether just starting out or growing and ready for a change. 

Setting up bookkeeping and outsourcing: Entrepreneurs can’t expect to do everything; they don’t have time, and many of them don’t have the skills. Financial and bookkeeping tasks are critical to the survival of a company. Setting your clients up for success from the start or evaluating changes necessary for an existing company will also set you up for ongoing business. 

Obtaining financing: You can help your clients find funding for their startup or expansion through traditional sources such as loans from banks or the Small Business Association, or through angel investors or venture capitalists. Help research the options and provide your expertise.

Business planning and forecasting: Lack of business planning can spell doom for a business. Help your clients develop a clear business plan to keep their company strong. Provide insight into cash flow patterns, inventory management, and pricing. Create financial forecasts to help your clients make better decisions. 

Real Estate and major equipment purchases: Provide advice on property and equipment leasing and purchases, the pros and cons, the various depreciation options, and the potential effects on the business. 

PPP forgiveness: Help your clients fulfill the requirements necessary in order to ensure the PPP loans they’ve received are forgivable. 

Selling the business: If your client wishes to sell, provide the advice and resources necessary in evaluating the variables to determine pricing, business continuation, and other factors involved in selling an ongoing business. 

Consider the needs of your current clients when deciding what additional service areas you’d like to expand into. Your current clients are your best source for more business and your best source for referrals. Your clients know and trust you, and would be more likely to turn to you for any of these needs than to go to anyone else.