The 9 Most Essential Questions To Ask Your Accountant This Year

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Although you may be a self-taught small business owner, it’s a good idea to leave business accounting to the professionals. A certified public accountant (CPA) can help maximize your business’s potential while keeping you compliant with government regulations.

Knowing the right questions to ask your accountant can lead to better business decisions. We’ve put together some important questions to ask your accountant, specifically for small business needs.

What Questions Should I Ask an Accountant?

1. How can I help you do a better job for me?

Collaborate with your accountant to streamline financial management. Understanding their needs can help you provide accurate financial data, like cash flow statements and business transactions. This ensures they offer the best advice for your specific business needs.

2. What records should I be keeping?

Keeping your business records in order could help prevent future headaches. Your accountant can guide you through organizing important documents like receipts, tax returns, invoices and bank statements, which are crucial for accurate bookkeeping and tax preparation. They may recommend accounting software to make recordkeeping as straightforward as possible.

3. How do I best prepare for tax season?

Preparing for tax season is more than just a year-end activity. Discuss with your accountant the best strategies for tax planning throughout the year. This may include keeping track of deductible expenses and understanding the impact any new tax laws may have on your business.

4. Are there any industry-specific tax regulations that I should know about?

Your specific tax regulations will depend on your type of business. A good accountant can help you navigate specific regulations and tax credits, ensuring compliance for your industry’s tax obligations.

5. How can I manage my cash flow better?

Effective cash flow management is crucial for your business. Discuss strategies for monitoring your cash flow, understanding your income and expenses, and how to predict future cash flow needs.

6. Can you help me find others who can help my business?

An experienced accountant or accounting firm often has a network of professionals that can benefit your business. They can refer you to trusted legal advisors, lenders or financial experts.

7. Is this the right business structure for me?

The structure of your business impacts your tax liabilities and legal obligations. Your accountant can provide insights into whether a different business structure could offer tax advantages or operational benefits for your specific situation.

8. What tax deductions can I take?

Maximizing tax deductions can significantly impact your bottom line. Ask about lesser-known deductions, the implications of major purchases and strategies to document and track eligible business expenses for deduction purposes.

9. Am I at risk of an audit?

Understanding your audit risk can guide you in maintaining compliant and prudent financial practices. Discuss the common triggers for IRS audits in your industry and how you can avoid them through careful accounting processes, such as bookkeeping and reporting.

The Bottom Line

Engaging with your accountant through these questions can transform them from a mere service provider to a strategic ally in your business journey. By leveraging their expertise, you gain insights into tax efficiency, financial planning and business optimization for your small business.

What Experts Say: The Most Essential Questions for Your Accountant

“‘What is my break-even point?’ When you break even, your total sales equal your total expenses. Business-wise, you’re making enough to accommodate your operating costs. This information is essential, and your accountant can help you review your pricing system and existing rates against the market to increase revenue and profit. They can recommend ending a product or service that isn’t delivering the proper margin levels to finance your business. Mostly, they use your financial records, such as the profit and loss statement, to help you know if your business is making a profit, or loss, or just breaking even.”

Charles Noman, CEO
WPS Office

“‘How did inflation impact my business?’ A business owner needs insights about the inflation impact on his/her business as it pertains to the sales price of goods, services and input costs (materials, labor, supplies, etc.). Your accountant should be able to illustrate the trend of these figures. Armed with this information, a business owner can make informed decisions about operations in the new year.”

Mike Lynch, CPA, Owner

“Ask your accountant about how you can be more efficient in your own processes! Many accountants are actually software experts. We spend so much time researching tips, tricks, tools, etc. that if you asked us to vet your tech stack for efficiency, the odds are, we’d have some valuable input. We have clients in parallel businesses/industries and can point you in a direction you may not know about.”

Stephanie Heredia, CPA, CEO
Taxes Tampa LLC

“‘What are the key financial statements and how can they help me understand my business’s health?’ The main financial reports and how they can help you understand how your company is doing are really important to know. The balance sheet shows what your business owns and owes at a point in time. The income statement shows whether you made a profit or loss over a period of time. The cash flow statement shows the cash coming in and going out of your business. And the statement of equity shows the money invested in your company and any earnings kept in the business.”

Andrew Gosselin, CPA
The Calculator Site

This content is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as financial, investment or legal advice.