Top 5 Questions for Your Accountant this Year
Whenever your next meeting with your accountant or the reason for the meeting, there are some questions that would serve you and your business well if you ask them. You may already be having discussions about these, and if so, great as you are ahead of the game. If not, then write them down and get the answers to help you grow your business and save on taxes.
- How can you help me to make this year’s tax results better than last year’s?
Taxes should enter into almost every major business decision you make. Ask your accounting professionals how they can get better results for you. What areas do they see where you can improve the business, your recordkeeping, or your income and expense practices? Are there tax law changes that you should know about? Are there major future purchases that should be accelerated into this year to lower taxes? Should you start, modify, or contribute more to your retirement plan(s).
- How can I help you to get better results for my business?
There are ways that you can help your tax and accounting professionals to do a better job for you. You should explore ways in which you can improve the flow of information from the field to your bookkeeping and tax preparations services. Explore technology options that would make it easier for you and provide accurate and fast data transfer for them. Are the ways in which you are delivering transaction documentation to them efficient, or can they be improved?
- Do you have suggestions for how I can better manage my cash flow?
Work on a cash flow analysis with them to see where you could make improvements. Are you handling debt well or using it to support low cash flow unnecessarily? How can you work on both sides of your business, income and expenses, to improve cash flow? If you invoice customers or clients, can you change payment options or offer discounting to speed payment?
- Are there new or industry-specific tax rules I should know about?
With Congress constantly changing the rules of the game, ask if there are any new or changed tax rules related to your business model. If you are expanding your business, services, or products, will there be tax rules for the new areas that you have not yet had to deal with? Even the ways in which you invoice and receive payments can become the target of new rules. The IRS is seeking new ways to discover tax avoidance through non-reporting of small amounts billed through payment providers like Venmo, PayPal, Square, etc.
- Are there changes I should make to help my business?
You are the expert about your business, how you make money, and how you spend it. But your accountant learns a lot in handling your income and expense records and can often provide ideas for improvement. Ideas for changes in production, services delivery, or marketing can help you to improve your profitability.
The idea is to at least once each year have a meeting with your accounting professional(s) to discuss all aspects of your business and accounting processes.