Your accountant is there to help you file your tax return, but also to avoid financial missteps, including unwise tax decisions, costly disorganization, and poor budgeting. And while the tax time meeting is mandatory, it’s also important to meet with your accountant throughout the year.
Here are six ways that quarterly meetings with your accountant can make a big difference for your business all throughout the year.
1. You’ll stay current on any tax law changes that impact your business.
Being out of the loop on the latest tax laws (and given how many tax laws there are, and how often they change, it’s easier to be out of the loop than not) can hurt your business. The worst case scenario is that you wind up paying more in taxes than you need to, or missing a deadline and getting hit with fines. A quarterly meeting can save you a great deal of stress, hassle, and possibly money. Your accountant can clear up any questions and help you set up a plan of action for the quarter that fits your plans and needs into the giant tax-law puzzle.
2. You can ensure that your quarterly payments are accurate.
Estimating and paying your quarterly payments can be an incredibly complex process, that could have big repercussions for your business. Estimate too little and you could end up with a big, unplanned payment or additional fees. Estimate too much and your cash flow can end up strangled.
Your accountant can walk you through the estimation each quarter, so you are paying the taxes you need to pay, but no more than necessary.
3. You can keep track of important deductions.
Small business deductions can lighten your tax load, but they require documentation. The right kind of documentation.
Plan in a regular meeting with your accountant so you can discuss purchases and new expenses, find out which qualify for deductions, and get details on how to document each one.
4. You’ll get advice on the tax implications of internal business changes.
Are you planning to hire new employees or internally restructure? Are you investigating new insurance options? Changes like these can alter how you’ll need to do your taxes, what you owe, and when you owe it.
That quarterly meeting ensures that you don’t overlook the benefits, or the costs, of these changes, so you can ensure you’re making the best decisions at the right time.
5. You can discuss the timing for when to buy and when to claim depreciation.
Major purchases for your business may qualify for a depreciation value, but the timing on how to claim that depreciation value varies. New businesses can claim capital expenses, but they have to spread them out over time.
Your accountant can help you figure out the best timing as far as when to buy, and how to claim, the assets that you need for your business.
6. You can ensure that your records and documentation are always in order.
A quarterly meeting is an ideal time to bring in copies of your financial statements and hand them over; save yourself the stress of a year-end scramble. If there is an issue, you have time to figure it out before major deadlines.
Keeping up with taxes and finances is a big job. Quarterly meetings break the process into doable bits, and help you gain the knowledge you need to continue doing a good job in the daily financial management of your business.
Meeting with your accountant does require your time, and will cost you a bit more than a once-a-year marathon session at tax-time. But the long-term benefits for your business, not to mention your peace of mind, can be enormous.