Is your accountant giving you more than just tax advice? If not, it may be time to find a new one.
Your accountant should be helping you with these five important things:
1. Helping You Prepare for Tax Season – Well in Advance
Most business owners hire an accountant purely for tax purposes, although they can offer assistance in other ways as well.
Ideally, your accountant should be helping you prepare for taxes well in advance, so there are no last-minute surprises. He or she should be helping you understand:
- Which credits to claim
- Which deductions to claim
- Tax laws that can maximize your write-offs
Tax opportunities, like the R&D credit, can help reduce your tax burden, and your accountant should know if you qualify for such opportunities.
“The R&D tax credit provides cash incentives for companies performing R&D in the U.S.,” says JAK + CO, a business accounting firm. “The credit is meant to encourage businesses to invest more in R&D than they would otherwise through a tax credit for spending on qualified research.”
To avoid the tax season rush, your accountant should be helping you gather all of your necessary documents and data throughout the year.
2. Assisting You in Making Major Business Decisions
Along with tax preparation, your accountant should be offering advice or assistance when making certain business decisions.
Your accountant should be familiar with GAAP, retirement planning, corporate tax, individual tax, financial planning and other disciplines. This expertise can be used to help you make better business decisions.
He or she should also help you understand the financial consequences of your business decisions and which actions to take both now and in the future.
An accountant is more than just a person who prepares your taxes; he or she should be a part of your team and helping your business succeed.
3. Helping You Expand Your Business
It is in your accountant’s best interest to help your business grow, and if the right groundwork is in place, he or she can help you reach those goals.
Your accountant should work with you on a regular basis (monthly preferably) to go over your financial model and make changes as needed. Reviewing your plan can help you take advantage of growth opportunities, and tweak areas that may not be getting the results you intended.
4. Advising You on How to Cut Costs
Every business has the goal of maximizing profits. Cutting costs can help you achieve that, and your accountant is just the right person for the job.
Collaborate with your accountant to develop a cash flow model that will help ensure you’re prepared for shortfalls.
5. Helping You Understand Industry-Specific Issues
Every industry has unique accounting issues, and your accountant should know and understand these issues. Certain tax opportunities may be more applicable to some industries than others. Your accountant should be well versed in issues and opportunities that will apply to your business and industry specifically.
Your accountant should be doing more than just helping you prepare for tax season. From helping you understand the financial ramifications of your decisions to helping you pinpoint growth opportunities, your accountant should be working with you to help your business thrive.