Would you consider your accountant a friend? Admittedly, it’s probably not a question that you have asked yourself before. Most of the time we know that we are going to get some time with our CPA around tax season, or might even get an email or two outside of the normal ‘send us this’ or look over that’ messages. That kind of interaction can’t possibly give you the kind of relationship that you need to really get the most from the relationship.
There is so much more your accountant can do for you if they have a full picture of who you are and what you are all about. It’s easy to understand that within your business because there is a laundry list of things that your CPA is going to know about when they check in every six months or so, but what is missing are your personal goals, changes in family and pivots in lifestyle which can greatly impact how your planning and filing should be done. That understanding can save you a lot of stress and help you better align your financial planning. The question is…how do you know if the relationship with your CPA is a good one?
Here are a few questions that you should be asking:
Does my accountant know/ask about ALL of my sources of income?
Outside of the income that flows through your business your CPA should know about your family, your hobbies and investments as well as what you are envisioning for the future. Things like gambling or lottery winnings, inheritances, your intention to use AirBnB, and even your spouse’s income should be accounted for to create the optimal tax plan. Your CPA can’t capture those things if you aren’t looking at the big picture together. And besides, doesn’t any good friend ask about what’s going on with you besides your business life?
Does the clock turn on with each phone call or meeting??
What should be a huge red flag for you is if you are worried that you will be charged for checking in with your CPA outside of your tax season check-in. A good talk with your service provider shouldn’t be a ‘nickel and dime-ing’ situation. Often, when there isn’t a proactive tax plan in place or a view of the big picture, the small things that come up in your life and business can cause extra ‘projects’ for your accountant. No one likes surprise costs, but without a solid plan and communication, they are likely to come up. It’s kinda like that one friend that never seems to reach for the bill after dinner. That person isn’t anyone’s favorite friend.
Is this a one-sided relationship?
Are you the only one dialing the phone? That’s never a good sign. If you are an Officeheads client already you know that we focus on relationships with our monthly reviews and ‘business therapy’ calls to answer business questions, keep you up to date on your financial plan and mention potential tax ramifications. What we often hear back from our clients when we are ready to share our reports with their CPA is that tax planning isn’t something that they offer. Talk about a fair-weather friend! You deserve a service provider who is there to do more than file your returns and let you know if you owe money or are getting a refund. If your accountant isn’t providing your tax planning along with your tax prep services you could be losing thousands of dollars a year. It might be time to start looking for a new CPA friend.
As we are tracking trends in your business, Officeheads is also monitoring existing and proposed changes in tax legislation. During our standard planning sessions (in July and December), we give our clients a view of what’s to come and modify their tax plans to ensure that they get the best outcome when it’s time to have everything filed. From savings and payment recommendations to end of year spending strategies, we can be the friend that you have always needed for your business…and your (financial) life. And besides, for a bunch of bookkeepers and accountants, we are a heck of a lot of fun.
If any of the questions above give you pause we should chat, and don’t worry, we never gossip about what’s happened in the past. We can build a relationship that will give you the high-value accounting expertise you need and the friends that will be there for your future. Tax planning can keep money in your business, ensure that your personal taxes are set up the right way and remove the dread from every pending tax deadline. Friends don’t let friends worry about taxes!
As Officeheads gears up for 2020 we are ready to provide you with the experts you need to take your business way beyond an ‘accounting only’ relationship. If you are already an Officeheads client make sure to connect with us right away to talk about adding tax prep to your services.