Ask the Experts: When Should You Meet with Your Accountant?
In the following three-part series, we’re featuring practical guidance from our team of professional accountants to help you navigate tax season and make the most of your partnership with your accountant all year round. One common dilemma business owners face is deciding how often to meet with their business accountant, so we are tackling this topic in the guide that follows. There are several key principles to keep in mind as you work with your accountant at tax time and the whole year through. Read on to find out more.
Tip 1 – Schedule Quarterly Meetings with Your Business Accountant
For the majority of business owners, meeting with your accountant once per year is simply not enough to establish a strong partnership that keeps you both on the same page. Instead, we recommend meeting with your accountant once a quarter, whether in person or via video call or phone call, to touch base. Quarterly meetings with your accountant give you the opportunity to discuss your estimated tax payments, develop tax strategies based on the current performance of your childcare business, and do a quick clean-up of your books (assuming you are doing your own books).
It’s important to get into a rhythm of regular meetings with your accountant. Not only do quarterly meetings give your accountant up-to-date insight into your company’s financial picture, but they also give you timely access to their professional expertise, helping you make better financial decisions.
Some business owners choose to touch base with their accountant on a monthly basis, but in general, a quarterly meeting is often sufficient to keep you both on the same page.
Tip 2 – Meet with Your Accountant Before You Make a Significant Business Decision
In the world of professional accounting, as is true in most areas of life, we typically work on a spectrum between an ideal situation and the reality of a particular client’s situation. Ideally, we recommend that our clients reach out to us before they make a significant business decision, such as starting a new business, implementing a new system or process, or entering a big transaction. This gives your accountant the chance to advise you on important things like the best business structure for your business, the best accounting systems for your unique situation, possible tax ramifications of upcoming transactions, and so on.
The fact is, if you are seeking your accountant’s advise after the business decision has already been made, there is often only so much they can do after the fact.
Being proactive and touching base before big business decisions can save you and your accountant a lot of frustration and optimize your decision-making process.
Tip 3 – Set Realistic Expectations for Your Accountant During Tax Season
One of the most valuable pieces of advice we can offer business owners when they are thinking about when to meet with their accountant is to set realistic expectations during tax season. Your CPA enters the busiest and most demanding season of the calendar year between January 1st and April 15th. While your accountant is making it a priority to help you get your business taxes filed appropriately during this time, the reality is they simply do not have the time or bandwidth to deep dive into non-tax-related financial issues that have arisen throughout the year. This is why we do not recommend relying on a once-yearly meeting with your accountant during tax season to get all your business financial questions and strategies figured out.
For example, waiting until mid-March to set up a meeting with your accountant to go over things like which deductions you may be eligible for this year or whether it’s better to buy or lease a company vehicle is not something he or she is realistically going to be able to address with you at that point. Timing is everything; in order to benefit the most from your accountant’s expertise, commit to working with the demands of tax season by setting realistic expectations and addressing non-tax-related financial matters at other times.
In the end, it’s all about great communication. The Honest Buck Accounting team is passionate about helping our childcare business clients achieve their financial goals, save money, and grow their businesses. We are committed to giving our clients our best—financial services, professional advice, and communication. When you schedule regular meetings with your accountant, get in touch before big business decisions, and set realistic expectations during tax season, you can help us serve you better!
Schedule a call with us to learn more about our financial services.
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