No business owner looks forward to the chaos of tax season. When you’re already juggling customer service, marketing, and business development, it can seem virtually impossible to make time for preparing your financials. That’s where your CPA comes in.
If you think an accountant’s role is limited to preparing and filing annual tax returns, it’s time to adjust your expectations. Many of our new clients are pleasantly surprised to find out how much work we’re prepared to take off their plate.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners can make is withholding information from their CPAs. While basic financial data— W2 and 1099 forms, real estate interest statements, receipts for business expenses—is important, we dig deeper to ensure a clear understanding of our clients’ businesses and long-term goals. Below are some of the most important things to convey to your tax professional before tax season:
- Major life changes. These can apply to your personal or professional life. Examples of events to share with your accountant include the merger or sale of a business, the purchase of a new property, or an impending divorce or marriage. Any of these things can impact the distribution of your business profits.
- Projected income changes. Whether you anticipate fiscal challenges or you’re about to launch a revolutionary new product that promises to boost your revenue, it’s wise to let your accountant know what you’re expecting. Your CPA can help with any cash flow or re-investment concerns.
- Retirement goals. Do you have a timetable for when you’d like to retire? As a self-employed entrepreneur, are you unclear on the differences between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA? Regardless of your age, it’s never too early—or too late—to discuss retirement options with your CPA.
- New projects or investments. If your business is venturing into new markets or about to start offering a new product or service, this change in direction could have an impact on your tax strategies.
As you approach tax season, a well-informed CPA is one of the most important business tools in your repertoire. The more your tax advisor knows about your current situation and long-term plans, the better he or she can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.