Have you ever wondered what your accountant wishes you knew? Our team has compiled a list of 10 things they wish you knew. Here they are, in no particular order…
1) Call us for advice BEFORE you make any major financial decisions
As accountants, we know about the implications of certain business transactions. If you’re planning to buy or sell a business, retire, take on a partner or anything else, let us know. We will create a plan with you to ensure no detail is missed and work to minimize the financial impact. After making a significant change, clients often come to us and are shocked by undisclosed fees or tax implications. If your accountant is aware of what’s happening, we can work with you to make the entire process easier and less costly overall.
2) We are not lawyers
While we want to answer all of your questions , we are limited to our field of expertise. We can certainly answer any questions you may have about tax requirements. Still, we are not lawyers, and you should consult a legal professional for those specific matters.
3) Summarizing your expenses can save us a great deal of time
Taking a few moments to look over your expenses and compiling them into a summary for your accountant can save them time and you money. Giving them a total sum of items such as medical expenses, mileage, and so on will mean that they don’t have to spend the time doing it themselves. Your accountant isn’t trying to get out of work; however, you are paying them hourly, so this could cut down on the amount of time it takes them to complete your taxes and save you money in the long run. This also applies to shoeboxes full of receipts. We don’t mind sorting through them, it just might take us a little longer.
4) Be proactive
As mentioned above, we can help you plan to make major financial decisions. This is not just in reference to buying or selling a business. Taking the time to plan your succession will ensure that your wishes are honoured if something unexpected happens and can also make transitions smoother. Working ahead of time can reduce costly mistakes and headaches for those involved.
5) It’s time to budget
As accountants we wish you knew how much tax we can save you by budgeting and being diligent to stay on that budget. Since our tax system is a graduated tax rate we can plan to utilize the lower rates and draw money out over time so that you are never pulling money and unnecessarily paying tax at the highest rates. We are willing to have conversations to find what you “need” in order to maintain your level of comfort and help you budget this into monthly allotments so that you can feel secure knowing you have enough. It is important at this point to then make sure you are sticking to the budget and if you need more, reach out for an updated plan.
6) Put practices in to replace you
While there are benefits of growing your business around you, when you are the heart and soul of your operation there are considerations, we wish you knew. Being a hands-on owner is nothing to balk at but having a business that couldn’t run without you is a recipe for disaster. Having both systems and people in place to ensure the company can run independently from you is vital for both a healthy work-life balance, succession planning and resale. If you plan to sell your business someday, potential owners may find the level of involvement unattractive. You could also face significant issues if a health emergency or injury arises. If your business can’t survive without you, it likely won’t. Your business’s dependence on you could ultimately be its downfall.
7) Let us know if there are changes
When you buy a new home, have a change of marital status or make any significant life changes, it’s important to update us too. We’ll need to know if there is a change in where we send your documents or how we contact you and let us know there will be changes to your tax preparation. It’s easy to overlook your accountant when going through these changes. Still, the sooner you notify us, the less chance you have of missing us. The last thing you want is for us to complete your return only to realize we didn’t include your new spouse and must redo the entire filing. Letting us know of these changes when they happen can once again save both time and money.
8) Have an accountant or bookkeeper while you grow
As your business grows and develops, it is crucial to have a financial professional on your side. As you continue to build your business, you’ll be faced with changing economic situations. An expert will help you navigate new tax brackets and revenue streams while maintaining proper records throughout. An accountant that knows your business inside and out can help you plan appropriately and make sure that your business is very attractive to potential buyers from a financial standpoint.
9) Not everything is a tax deduction
We often see clients try to write off several expenses that are not legitimate business write-offs. Sometimes clients will try to claim mileage for their daily commute or personal travels. Other times, we see clients try to claim HST on expenses that do not qualify. We can appreciate wanting to retain as much of your income as possible while paying as little tax as possible, but we still need to play by the rules. If you’re unsure of an expense, ask us. We’re happy to help guide you through this. We might even be able to find a tax deduction you weren’t expecting!
10) We’re here to help
The biggest takeaway we want to share is that we want to help. As accountants, we are more than happy to share our expertise and help answer your questions. You don’t have to wonder or guess when you could simply email us or pick up the phone. We are experts in accounting, if we don’t personally have an answer for you, someone in our firm will, and we will connect you to them. Our clients’ success is a priority for us, and we want you to know that our doors (and phone lines) are open to you. We will happily answer your questions; all you need to do is ask.