By Nancy Raiden Titus Journal Record Staff Reporter Computers
are changing the way accountants view their business. As low cost
programs are available to run routine reports clients are less in
need of a professional to generate the documents.
But that doesn't mean the need for accountants has dropped off.
In fact, many small businesses are relying more on their accounting
firm to function as the financial department of the company _
formulating everything from the business plan to the documents
needed for financing.
"People need less and less in terms of paper products," said
Susan Onstott, managing partner with Onstott & Craddick CPAs Inc.,
of 5001 N. Pennsylvania Ave. "Many times they don't understand it
even if they get the paper."
The accountant's job is to explain the documents so that they
are meaningful for the client. She said she would not feel that she
had succeeded in her job if a client took the work back to his
office and stuffed it in a drawer because he did not understand it.
Such a statement provides insight into Onstott's philosophy of
accounting. With a new master's degree in social work under her
belt, she integrates her accounting and people skills to provide a
rounded professional service to clients.
"We take a holistic approach to the business," said Ronald E.
Kozak, principal in the business financial and management
consulting area of the independent Oklahoma City-based firm.
Specialization within the firm is the trend as tax laws become
more complex and investments more sophisticated. Clients may find
they need two or three accountants assigned to their case with
specific expertise in different areas of the tax code. Kozak said
accounting firms positioned for the future need to be able to offer
a variety of financial services to clients, some of which will be
developed later as technology advances.
The management consulting arm of the firm allows small
businesses to have all the advantages of a full time department of
business and finance professionals on a more cost effectiveness
"It is a small business climate in Oklahoma City with most
companies having $3 million to $5 million in sales," he said.
"Maybe there are 10 above that and then there are the companies
like Kerr McGee. The traditional business we and most CPAs work
with are the mom and pop businesses with $2 million to $3 million
in sales. Often they are at a crossroads in their business life.
They are growing, and they have a need for service, and they don't
know where to find it."
Onstott & Craddick's consulting work springs out of the firm's
traditional accounting forte of tax planning and auditing. The
consulting side provides such services as audited financial
statements bankers often require before even reviewing loan
Most small businesses have the technical expertise to provide
their product or service, but they often lack the financial
expertise to know how to finance growth or provide optimum cash
flow, Kozak said.
"From a management standpoint, they have the right policies and
procedures in place, but they don't know how to negotiate with
their banker," he said. …