If you're like most small business owners, you have an accountant that you meet with to get your annual taxes done. Because you don't meet regularly outside of that time, you hesitate to reach out before tax season. Your accountant seems very busy and may even charge by the minute if you call them, so you want to ensure that you're only reaching out when necessary.
Accountants can help you beyond just filing annual taxes, and you should consider them a financial partner. Reaching out for help prior to a business decision – even a small one – can result in tax savings, cost cutting, and increased profitability.
Because of this, if you don't talk to your accountant more than once a year, you're not getting enough value out of them.
At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we believe in the power of monthly accounting. After all, we've helped thousands of small business owners achieve their goals by implementing this year-round method. Outside of tax season, here are three times when you should reach out to your accountant.
1. You’ve fallen behind on your books.
Many people are embarrassed when they fall behind on their books, but don’t let messy books keep you from reaching out to your accountant. Even if you have a budget and cash flow system set up, your books will qualify as "messy" by accounting standards if:
You’re not separating your business and personal finances.This is a must for all LLCs and corporations.
You don’t save receipts.You may know where this money is going, but the government doesn’t. You should be saving receipts that are up to six years old in case of an audit.
Your books can’t be reconciled.Does the cash in your bank account match your statements? Make sure that you can provide outside evidence that account balances are what they should be.
Your books are behind.This means your taxes did not get done last year, and you don't have a profit and loss statement for last month.
This is one of the bigger problems that your business can have because you need accurate, timely books to move forward with your accounting. Oftentimes they can be so unorganized that you don't even realize how bad they really are. Luckily, CSI can help you with your back work, or back taxes.
2. You are facing an audit.
It’s especially important to contact your accountant if your business is facing an audit this year. There are two types of tax audits: sales tax audits and income tax audits. Sales tax audits are related to filing and paying a sales and use tax, which is done by the State. Income tax audits are related to your tax returns. Sales tax audits are much more common than income tax audits. You may also be facing an unemployment tax audit.
A professional will help you get your documents in order and prepare you to make your strongest case to the IRS. If you work with CSI, we offer agent-level support, meaning that we deal with the IRS agent directly for income tax audits. We get power of attorney to work through the appeal process if we feel they incorrectly made a determination. Almost all of these issues are resolved at the agent level and never need to go to tax court. If we’re preparing your monthly sales tax returns, we will also represent you in a sales tax audit.
3. You’re planning for the upcoming year or expect major business changes.
Most business owners dread tax season. This is usually due to one of two reasons: messy, behind books or an unexpectedly profitable (and taxable!) year. However, we recommend reaching out to your accountant before tax season so they can help you:
Get your books in order and gather important tax documents.
Streamline your filing process.
Spot trends in your financial statements and tax returns.
Minimize your taxes and maximize your profits.
Make sense of any changed tax laws and ensure you're in compliance with new regulations.
If you're really on top of things, you'll be looking past tax season! Your accountant is a great financial sounding board for business decisions, such as:
Creating your budget for next year.
Strategizing ways to attract new business.
Creating and hiring for a new position.
Acquiring a company vehicle or making other large investments.
You may want to get implement these moves as soon as possible, but contacting your accountant now can help set you up for success and save you time down the road when things get busy. Taking the time to fine-tune your decision today can have big payoffs down the road.
At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we wish our clients would contact us more! If you're making a major decision, we can ensure you're doing it the right way. Having us guide you during a decision means we don't have to go back and make corrections. We'd love to advise our clients on every tax or financial question they have. An advantage of having a set monthly fee is that you don't have to worry about getting charged for reaching out with questions!
Do you need a new financial partner?
The right accountant can do much more than prepare your records for tax season; they should also be a valuable partner in making your business more profitable over time. They should be as familiar with your finances as you are so they can spot errors from month to month and recommend improvements.
If you aren’t getting the kind of financial support you need, finding a new accounting service is the best thing you can do for your business. Don’t let fears about the transition hold you back. Contrary to popular belief, changing accountants can be easy with the right approach.
CSI Accounting & Payroll will support the financial side of your business. In turn, you’ll be able to focus on your product, your team, and your customers.
Are you facing a business challenge that an accountant could help you manage? Set up a consultation today and see how we can help grow your business. Don’t wait until your retail needs become too complex to manage; schedule a consultation today and start planning for your future success.
If you're not ready for a consultation yet, make sure you know how much monthly accounting costs by clicking the image below:
This article was composed by a member of our staff who interviewed our experts to get the facts straight. Any uncited information found here came straight from a knowledgeable accountant or payroll specialist.