It might seem odd that I’d be discussing how a business owner should approach the subject of finding a new accounting team right now, in the middle of tax season. Most tax professionals are up to their ears in business and not even answering the phones or emails from anyone who isn’t a client, but to me, it’s about service.
This time of year is when tax professionals make or break their reputation because for many people, it’s the only time of year they really interact with their CPA or preparer.
So let’s get one thing certain right now: I’d LOVE to help new clients, and I’m happy to begin the conversation with them – BUT (and it’s a big ‘but”) – I will not turn my back on existing clients to create new relationships.
But if you’re reading this, perhaps because one of my clients forwarded it to you, or you’ve been getting my emails for years and you’re finally ready to make the investment in yourself and get a tax professional to work with, then here’s some things to contemplate in that conversation…
When you sit down to talk to an accounting team about the options that are available to match the needs of your business, you need to make sure they can consider all the aspects of your industry, including anticipated bookkeeping and accounting trends this year.
If you already have an internal bookkeeping and accounting system in place, then you need to evaluate the effectiveness of the current system and how well it syncs with those of the CPA you want to do business with. It would be silly to go to all the effort of incorporating QuickBooks into your business if you dealt with a firm using an antiquated custom system they designed 20 years ago.
If you’re in the market for a bookkeeper and a CPA, now is a good time to optimize your own processes so that you are ready for the changes that might come.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of value in looking at a new accountant with an eye towards the future. Taxes are a part of business, so being truly clear on what you know AND what you don’t is critical.
Are you open to new ideas and systems? What are your real business goals – are you committed to growth or simply trying to hold on to stable, replicable income that you can rely on for the rest of your life?
How about selling your business? If that’s a part of the plan – even long term – then you need to be clear on it AND share that with a firm, because it can guide strategies and actions for the future – capital investments, how (or if) purchases can be amortized, and the overall entity structure you should be operating from.
…And you might not have all these answers, which is fine. Be honest with yourself and honest with a new tax professional: you should expect them to help you determine the path your company can follow.
Let me know how my team and I can help!