A CPA isn’t someone you should see just once a year. You should take just as much care selecting and building a relationship with your CPA as you do your doctor. While your physician is your main partner in your physical health, your CPA is your primary other half for your financial health (preferably in tandem with a financial advisor). It doesn’t matter if you “just” file a 1040EZ each year or you pride yourself in keeping up with the latest IRS tax changes, because it’s a CPA’s full-time job to know the ins and outs of taxes, which means they know more than you.

Simply put, working with a CPA can save you money and protect you from getting an IRS audit. While the fees for a CPA may look steep up front, many of them won’t nickel and dime you. In fact, there are many CPAs who will only charge you for the time required to actually file your taxes, which means you can shoot them the random tax question any time of year without being charged for it. They’re like your personal inside source to Uncle Sam.

Here are the big reasons why you should secure a CPA throughout the seasons and not just in April:

1. They’ll keep you on top of things

Need a reminder to file your quarterly taxes or on the fence about buying a house this year? Your CPA is that bug in your ear that keeps you in the best tax-related financial health. They’ll keep you informed of any changes, recommend moves to maximize this tax year, and make sure you don’t slip up if you’ve arranged for IRS payments.

See also: +45 Bookkeeping Resources: Courses, Tools, Sites, and More!

2. They’ll save you money

No matter how much or how little you pay in taxes, without a reputable CPA by your side, you’re overpaying. Millions of unclaimed tax dollars sit abandoned each year. Whether it’s writing off postage or forgetting to deduct that eco-friendly appliance you bought, your CPA will pore over every last purchase to make sure you’re never overcharging yourself. The IRS will take what you give them, if not more, so don’t willingly donate to Uncle Sam.

A “loophole” doesn’t have the best connotation, but as long as it’s legal, why shouldn’t you get the most benefits? Taxes aren’t easy (no matter what the commercials say), and you can’t rely on a part-time bookkeeper at a pop-up shop in April to know all the ins and outs. You wouldn’t go to a part-time dentist who spent 10 months out of the year waiting tables to take care of your teeth, would you?

4. They help you plan

Not sure if you should start your own foundation or pay into an existing one? Confused on where the best place to open your business is if you live near a border? Asking your CPA any and all money and business-related questions throughout the year helps you make the best decisions for you. Sometimes as seemingly minor as opening up shop in Portland instead of Vancouver can cost you thousands since Washington has no state tax and Oregon has some of the highest in the country.

5. They are on your side

Your CPA is on your side and has zero interest in getting involved in an IRS audit with you. They’re your advocate, and you can happily pass off the dirty work to them. Just be open and honest with your CPA, and you’ll likely avoid an audit while enjoying more of your hard-earned cash. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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