How to Work With Your Accountant… At Tax Time, and All Year Long

It’s the time of year when most people get together with their accountants. But, do you only see these professionals once a year? If you’re a business owner, an accountant can help you with so many aspects of your business; it’s a shame not to take advantage of their knowledge year-round.

How to Find the Right Accountant

Most accountants will offer a free consultation to determine if you are a good fit for one another.  This meeting is the perfect opportunity for you to evaluate the possibility of a relationship. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do They Use a Lot of Jargon?

There’s a lot of technical jargon included in the tax code.  Is the accountant able to explain the particulars to you without making your eyes glaze over?  They should be able to help you understand the process by speaking to you in plain language.

Do They Have a Basic Understanding of Your Business?

It’s okay to ask them if they have experience working with clients in your area of business.  Understanding the day to day operations, along with big-picture goals, will help them to give you solid advice that will improve your business. When changes come along, they will understand how these changes affect your business.

Are They Big Enough (Or Small Enough) to Handle Your Company’s Needs?

If your company is medium to large, and may expand operations, make sure you choose an accounting firm that has the staff to grow with you.  Conversely, if you are a small company that needs a lot of hand-holding and personalized one on one service, make sure that this is available to you.

How Often Should You Meet With Your Accountant?

When you meet with your accountant for the first time, you will talk about the best strategy for your business needs.  Some smaller businesses with onsite bookkeepers will meet with their accountant yearly, while others will need to meet monthly or quarterly.  Remember that the more you know about your finances, the better off your company is.

What Kind of Things Can Your Accountant Help With?

  1. Your accountant should review the legal structure of your business and see whether it’s the best structure to minimize your tax liabilities.  Some businesses will have industry-specific tax requirements, and your accountant can help you decide on the best strategy
  2. Even if you only do a yearly review at tax time, your CPA can make you aware of any changes in the tax code from last year, and how they will affect you and your business.
  3. Sometimes it pays to have a separate set of eyes on the books, and your CPA can certainly do regular reviews to make sure you’re on the right track as you move through the year.
  4. Your accountant can be a valuable partner in uncovering expenses that you can submit as deductions on your tax return.  They can help determine what percentage of mixed-use deductions are allowed if you maintain your office in your home.

Time for a Change?

If you would like JStevens Accounting to review your taxes and talk with you about strategies for the upcoming year, we would love to sit down with you and go over your needs.

You’ll get conscientious, personal service from a firm that cares about you and can help with the bottom line.