Insight on Best Practices for Managing Business Accounts
As part of our 2023 insights initiative at Romero Insurance Brokers, we will be highlighting team leaders across the Romero Group. Over 12 months, The Romero Group will showcase 12 important figures, each from different departments and different disciplines. We will ask our experts about their roles and responsibilities within the company, including their attitude and approach to work. We’ll also ask them to share their tip for achieving fulfilment and workplace success.
First off is our Group Accountant. Romero Insrance Broker’s experienced Group Accountant is the resident expert for managing client accounts, outgoing payments, and the finances of all our businesses. They wanted to talk to us about his best practices for managing business accounts and what they would expect to see when reviewing a business’s finances.
What do you like to see when you are reviewing the accounts of a business?
“There are three things I look for when I want to see how well a business’s accounts are doing…”
“The first: Consistency.”
“In an ideal world, a business’s accounts should look similar to previous years’.”
“I’d be looking for any anomalies, any large new payments, which to be fair will immediately stand out. Such things as a large difference between creditors – I’d be asking myself ‘Why has this dropped?’ I’d be assessing their degree of solvency, asking can the business’s assets comfortably pay for its debts, which very much depends on how long the business has been going.”
“It can be difficult to read, whether a business would be able to stay afloat past its financial obligations. Indeed I’d also be looking for where a business is able to hide it’s money. They can be hidden in expenses, in salaries, so consistency in these areas is key.”
“The second: Comparability.”
“How well a business is doing, or how well-off its employees are, does not always show the full picture. The accounts are what show the full picture. For example, a director could be paying themselves a wage of anywhere from £5,000 to £250,000, and this can be irrespective of how well their business is truly doing. Profit dividends need to be reviewed, ensuring no more dividends are being paid out than available profits.
Good business accounts rely on a great accounts team. Team members who deal with finances need to be trained well and have great attention to detail. All my team members are important and have a vital role to play in the wellbeing of our business’s accounts.”
“And the third: Cash.”
“We have a saying in accounts, ‘Cash is King’. Building up cash reserves is so important for businesses and really looks good for an account review. It means your business is healthy and that you can handle money well. It’s the most important asset a business can have and allows them to be flexible, be it paying dividends, settling debts and making purchases.
Another saying we have in accounts is ‘Every debit must have a credit’. It’s the Ying and Yang of accounting, that all debits require and equal and opposite total credit. Every transaction affects two accounts, otherwise the accounts will not balance. We’ve got it posted on the door to my office; that, and ‘Keep calm and carry on accounting’.”
“I’d also review the profit and loss statement, looking at the business’s performance. That and the balance sheet to see the business’s position, which can be tested through a trial scenario.”
“I could also mention tax planning. Not tax evasion which is very bad, illegal, leads to fines and prison up to seven years. Tax planning is different, it’s a necessity for businesses. It’s about knowing how much tax you are going to pay and being able to factor that into your long-term financial analysis. I’d be looking out for tax efficiency and adopting tax planning strategies.”
How often do you review your financial statements and what is your process?
“We prepare full management accounts for all our businesses on a monthly basis. Obviously, certain areas are looked at much more frequently; the bank is reconciled every single day. For example if we want to pay an insurer, the handler sends through an order for the accounts team to pay. It’s approved, the payment goes out and it’s reconciled by the insurer, however the money goes out of the bank 2 or 3 days later. The payment and the bank statement needs to be matched off, and we do that on a daily basis with most accounts. Every debit needs a credit.”
“On a monthly basis, account reviews are prepared for every company. In detail, say a fortnight after the month, that’s when you have the full management of accounts. All our accounts were previously held in TAM however we’ve moved over to Epic now. The new system speeds up the process – speeds up the process of the job, speeds up the process of the finance function overall. It’s great because it’s giving us more detailed, reliable data. It gives us our balance sheet and then we make all of our own manual adjustments for everything we don’t put through Epic, such as subscriptions.”
“For example, we spread yearly payments for subscriptions out over 12 months, this needs to be done monthly so it doesn’t show as a huge bill all at once on the balance sheet in Epic. Keeping on top of this and keeping consistent is key. Which goes back to Consistency is King; and cash – Cash is also King.”
What’s your no.1 tip for running a successful business account process?
“Build a good team around you. If you’ve got a team of competent, enthusiastic trained individuals that actually care, it makes the whole process much easier! There are currently four of us in our team and I trust every one of them.
I wouldn’t even say that that is specifically related to accounts, or even to business, it’s one key tip for life. Build a team that you trust, are competent and actually enjoy what they are doing, then the process itself will work.”
Thank you to our Group Accountant for sharing their insight into effectively managing businss accounts.
At the Romero Group, we truly value our managers, as well as all our staff. It’s the experts we are lucky to have in the company that enables us to be the nations leading independent broker.
To read more profiles within our Romero Insights Series, keep up to date below…