We treat our accountants like miracle workers. We walk in with a big pile of papers with a panicked look on our faces. They sigh, collect the pile, and sometime later everything is magically fixed and your money isn’t in jeopardy anymore.
If only you would take the time to learn a few things before you walked in, the whole process would actually be much smoother. Not only that, but you could participate in the growth and health of your finances and make your business that much stronger.
We asked a few accountants to tell us what they wish you would learn before you walk into the office next time. Here are some of the surprising answers!
There are No Dumb Questions
Your accountant understands that there are concepts you don’t “get.” If you did, you might not have an accountant. There will always be some new law, or rule, or other regulation that comes up and throws you for a loop. It’s going to happen.
The worst thing you can do in this situation is to simply nod your head and pretend you understand. If you don’t get it, don’t be embarrassed. There are no dumb questions!
“Give me a call if you have a question,” says Chris Peden of The Accounting Scribe, “no matter how insignificant the matter may seem. I would rather have them ask me what they think is a stupid question, than not ask and have something that should have been reported go unreported.”
George Sleeman of Tax Man to You advises, “Not all spending is deductible.” This might seem like a simple concept, but you might not realize it until you ask. “Also, you cannot expense everyday clothing because you wear a suit to work.” How would you have known that if you didn’t ask?
“Spending the time to review your business operations on an annual basis can be a time to create opportunities for tax savings or keep your compliance in check,” says Lauren Stinson from Windward Tax. “We are here to help you.”
Basically, if you’re not active in your finances, you’re limiting what your money can do. Your accountant can only do so much – they’re going to organize your money in a way they know best. If you have other ideas, though, on how you want your business to move forward, you have to be there to advise.
“I cannot get your return done without all the information I ask for,” Sleeman continues. Without your help, your accountant is only getting half the story. Help them out by participating in the discussion and staying informed.
Set Realistic Expectations
You probably know by now not to rush into your accountant’s office on April 14th with a giant stack of papers for them to help you with. However, you’re probably recreating this same stressful situation throughout the year and not even knowing it.
“I cannot get your return done in an hour,” Sleeman bluntly states. No matter the form or paperwork you want them to help you with, expecting them to literally pull off a miracle is unfair and unprofessional on your end.
On top of that, the more you rush your account the more likely there will be an error. Just make sure you get all your ducks in a row quickly so you have time to calmly explain what you need as well as ask questions when you’re confused.
Accountants are our friends. They keep our feet out of the fire and the taxman from our door. We hope these tidbits from real accountants will help your relationship with your own financial pro run more smoothly!
Zach Olson is the Founder & CEO of TaxAlli.com. At Tax Alli, we pair you with real life accountants and use cloud software to make small business accounting awesome. So you can do what you love while we handle the rest.