Use Your Accountant as a Resource
By now you should have distributed W-2 forms to your employees and sent 1099s to independent contractors. Perhaps you’ve talked to your accountant about going over your 2016 taxes. But if you’re only using your accountant at tax time, you’re missing out on a valuable resource. Try these three tips for making the most of your accountant’s expertise all year round.
- If you don’t already use them, investigate online accounting software like products from Xero, Quickbooks or Sage. These tools make it simple for you to see your business’s overall financial picture at a glance and share it with your accountant so he or she can help you gain a better understanding of where your business has been and where it’s going.
- Set up regular meetings with your accountant, either in person or by phone, to go over your business’s financial situation. If your accountant has regular insights into your finances, he or she can point out early warning signs of trouble and help steer you in a better direction.
- Always consult your accountant before making any big decision or investment, including but not limited to taking on partners or investors, seeking outside financing, preparing your business for sale, hiring your first employee, or buying new equipment.
How to Spot Trends
Noticing trends on the cusp of discovery, before the masses, is a valuable skill. It’s not necessarily a natural talent, but more an arduous labor of love—and research. To spot a trend you have to look in the right places, then do the research to make sure it’s the real thing and not a “passing fad.” Here are a few fertile places to look for trends:
- Industry trade publications. If you’re in the retail or restaurant business, check out these two great websites: the National Retail Federation and Nation’s Restaurant News. Trends in these industries often cross over, creating broader trends in other industries as well.
- Marketing research firms. For broader trends check out JWT Intelligence, which comes from a leading global marketing and communications firm. They report on global trends, including news about mobile, travel and food.
- Trendwatchers. The Trendwatching website compiles information from global trendwatchers on consumer trends and insights. There’s lots of good information in their free e-newsletter, Trend Briefing.
The Southern California Entrepreneur Ecosystem supports small businesses in the region. Leading business and economic development organizations assist entrepreneurs in getting resources to start, manage, and grow their businesses. Listed below are regional partners that share a commitment to small business growth in Southern California and our national partners across the nation.