With all the accountants and CPA’s out there, how do you know which one is the best for you? Which will suit your personality best or which understands your business best? There are questions that you need to ask yourself and ask your accountant before you make the big decision.
The basic needs may not be so apparent. The first and most important one is that your accountant / bookkeeper / tax preparer must have a basic understanding of their own business. Are they up on the current laws and standards? Do they know even the basics of where things go on the tax return to get the most bang for your hard earned buck?
Does your accountant and / or bookkeeper even offer tax services? Do they have a full understanding of tax write offs?
One of the things that I find interesting is the lack of communication on the part of accountants and bookkeepers when it comes to their clients. I have heard time and time again how people call their accountant or their CPA and can’t get a call back. Or worse yet, they do get ahold of them and can’t get answers to their questions. It is very important that your accountant be able to communicate your finances to you in a way that you can understand and feel comfortable. Your money should NOT be a foreign language.
Does your accountant and/or tax preparer have a clear understanding of your business and your goals? I know that you are asking why they need to know this since it doesn’t it have anything to do with putting your tax return and tax information together, but really it does. Your business and personal goals can be addressed and your accountant should be a big part of helping you attain those goals. Really … isn’t making a profit a big part of your goals?
Along the same lines of communication, it is just as important for your accountant to be asking you questions. Does your accountant/bookkeeper know about your family, your housing situation, your investments, and asks you questions to help determine other tax deductions that you might have? It is sad when I run across someone who missed out on a large money saving tax deduction because their tax preparer didn’t ask good questions and they didn’t think to volunteer information. I even had a couple who didn’t get credit for their kids for over 3 years because the preparer never asked if they had kids and they didn’t think to tell her that information! This may seem like a duh … but truly it isn’t.
What about your business? Do they understand your industry to know if there are any industry specific deductions or credits that might otherwise not be available? Each industry, just as each business, has its own specific needs and issues. Knowing your business is as important as knowing you. How do you spend your money? Do you need to tweak a few things to get a better return and a better profit? Does your accountant help by offering suggestions to help you better achieve your business and personal goals?
Every party involved in your financial status, needs to understand you and your business and where you desire to go. This of course means that you need to understand where you desire to go. Set goals, write them down, and tweak them as often as needed. But I digress and that is a subject for another blog, another day.
At any rate, good solid communication with your accountant, CPA, bookkeeper, tax preparer, or other financial guru is a MUST!! If you are not comfortable talking to them, or if they are unwilling to talk to you, they are NOT for you. Make sure that your financial advisor and the person taking care of your finances, has a strong commitment to your business. Keep in mind that your finances are one of the most important parts of your business and shouldn’t be handled by someone that doesn’t feel the same way about it. You and your business are important and don’t let someone treat you as if you were any less.
Well, off my high horse and onto the next …..
Smiles and hopes of happiness to all!!