Do you often see your accountant roll their eyes when you walk in the door? It’s not because they don’t like you or you smell funny. It’s because you’re not exactly doing things the way they wish you were. You’re making their life that much harder because of a few simple things.
Of course it’d be nice if you knew what these little fixes are in the first place! To help you out, we contacted some accountants and asked them what they wish their customers knew before they even walked in the door.
One common response we got from accountants is that they wished clients would take more responsibility for their actions and finances. Often clients will hand off a box of receipts and ask the accountant to basically do a magic trick and fix everything. However, it’s better if you actually participate.
“Spending the time to review your business operations on an annual basis can be a time to create opportunities for tax savings or keep your compliance in check,” says Lauren Stinson from Windward Tax. “We are here to help you.”
“I cannot get your return done without all the information I ask for,” says George Sleeman of Tax Man to You. The only way to do this is if you understand your own finances, at least on some level. Otherwise you’ll be more inclined to leave something out accidentally.
If you’re confused, don’t stay silent! The more you understand the better off everyone will be, including your accountant. A well-informed client also means an accountant can quickly do what they need to do and not face unnecessarily backlash from someone wary of everything they’re doing.
“Give me a call if you have a question,” says Chris Peden of The Accounting Scribe, “no matter how insignificant the matter may seem. I would rather have them ask me what they think is a stupid question, than not ask and have something that should have been reported go unreported.”
“Not all spending is deductible,” Sleeman also said. “Also, you cannot expense everyday clothing because you wear a suit to work.” The more questions you ask about subjects like this, the sooner you stop trying to get away with expensing items like this. This makes the accountant’s (and your) life much easier.
Don’t expect miracles from your accountant. While sometimes it does seem like they wave a magic wand and everything is fixed, they go through a lot of hair-pulling and mind-warping to get your money in order. However, the more you pressure them, the more heavy sighs you’ll hear when you walk through the door.
“I cannot get your return done in an hour,” Sleeman continues. Such ridiculous expectations are not only stressful to both parties, it’s just not possible. Also, the chance for errors skyrockets if you put unnecessary pressure on them.
Has anything in this post opened your eyes about your accountant? Let us know in the comments!
Zach Olson is the Founder & CEO of TaxAlli.com. At Tax Alli, we pair you with real life accountants and use cloud software to make small business accounting awesome. So you can do what you love while we handle the rest.