With tax season upon us, small business owners across the country should now be talking to their accountants about getting their tax returns in order and discussing their financial outlook for 2016. Given how important filing a comprehensive and accurate return is to a business’s ongoing success, here are a few ways you can tell if your accountant has your best interests at heart or if it’s time to take your business elsewhere.
How often do you talk to your accountant?
If the only contact you have with your accountant is initiated by you, it might be time to make a change. A good accountant should be checking in with you regularly, alerting you to how changes in the tax code will affect your business and the pluses and minuses of claiming certain deductions. If your accountant isn’t being proactive and attentive, there are a lot of other qualified CPAs who would be more than happy to provide you with a higher level of service.
Is your accountant invested in the success of your business?
If someone is managing your company’s finances, they should be as invested in its success as you are. If they’re constantly shutting you down when you ask questions about reducing your liability or if they have a noticeable disinterest in how you plan to grow your company, those are big red flags. Because an accountant’s function is so essential to your business, you should hire someone who wants to treat you like a valued partner. As this Xero piece points out, they need to bring growth opportunities to your attention as they come up. An accountant that treats your company as inconvenience isn’t worth your time or money.
Are they a good fit for your particular business?
In many cases, new entrepreneurs will establish a relationship with an accountant based on a referral or because their rates weren’t too steep. However, as your business grows and you gain more experience, you might want to have a conversation with your accountant about what industry their other clients operate in. You might learn that your accountant specializes in working with individuals or with industries that have little overlap with your own. Employing an accountant who knows your field is ideal because they’ll have a better understanding of the specific taxation issues your company will have to contend with.
This article was written by Mario McKellop for Small Business Pulse