Having an accountant – in our opinion! – is more than simply checking the various financial boxes. You want someone who knows you and your business, and is able to put everything together into one cohesive story. If you only hear from your accountant in April (or a month or so before), to prepare your tax return, then it’s possible you (or they) may be missing a few things.
The best accountants see their connection with their clients as a relationship that goes beyond paying a fee and receiving a few pieces of paper.
Here are a few things you want to make sure your accountant is doing for you – whether it’s us, or someone else:
Talks to you more than once a year.
There’s a great deal that happens in your life, and it’s not possible to remember all of this in one meeting or phone call!
Asks key questions about your life and business, and how they intersect.
Sometimes as a small business owner, it’s hard to distinguish what falls into the ‘personal’ and what into the ‘business’ categories. Your accountant should help you tell the difference between the two, and what that means for your accounts and taxes.
Wants to know about any changes in your situation, even if they seem minor.
Whether it’s a new home, new business, new children, closed businesses, trusts or gifts received, or any other events that can have an impact on the numbers (and the amount you pay or receive), a good accountant wants to hear about these things, and from you, when they happen – not ten months down the road.
Updates you about the tax issues which apply (or may apply) to you.
Just about every accountant shares general tax updates with their clients, but does your accountant make an effort to pick out those which apply to you? If not, ask. If still not, talk to us!
Is willing to admit to not knowing certain topics or issues, and will recommend other experts where necessary.
No accountant is an expert in every topic. At Henry H Jones, CPA, we don’t pretend to know complex international tax issues, or how to design a website that will bring you more business. But we do know people who can help you with these things, and we’ll help you keep everything in one place, rather than running about the country looking for many different suppliers.
Returns your phone calls and emails.
If you can’t communicate with your accountant, you won’t be able to share all this valuable information. Now, we know as well as anyone that from time to time, messages or emails get lost. Even the best business owners or suppliers miss things. But in general, you’ll be able to get a hold of your accountant when you need to – or they will direct you elsewhere to someone who can. If you only hear from your accountant in April, much could be missed.
Some of these are small, and some major, but overall it expresses a true relationship with your accountant.