Staying on top of your business’s finances is critical if you hope to succeed. Far too often, owners rely on advice from friends or internet searches when the wisdom of an expert is what they really need.
Retaining the services of a CPA can be worth every penny you spend on them.
- They can point you towards wise business decisions and steer you away from dangerous financial situations.
- They can help you find money you didn’t know you had.
- They can make taxes work in your favor.
- They can help you grow your business.
Meeting with your CPA shouldn’t be a one-time event where you simply hand them the keys to your finances and walk away. In order to take full advantage of the CPA you’ve teamed up with, here are 5 questions to ask your CPA at least every year.
Questions to Ask Your CPA:
1. How can I help you help me?
Your CPA is only as good as the information you give them. In many cases, business owners fail to communicate well with their accounting partners. They either forget to pass along key information, or the information they send is incomplete.
(In extreme situations, owners flat out lie to cover up shady business dealings. What they overlook is the fact that the truth always comes out…either during a planning session or in front of the IRS.)
Put yourself in the best possible position to win by helping your CPA have complete and transparent information when it comes to your company’s finances. By asking this question, you let them know that you value their expertise and that they can count on you to be a team player too.
2. How can I better prepare for tax season this year (or next year)?
A good CPA will make a point of staying in touch with you throughout the year regarding your taxes. They’ll help you avoid last-minute issues when it’s time to file. While most other business owners will be waiting right up until the deadline to send everything to their accountant, you’ll save yourself (and your CPA) significant headaches by collecting data and documents throughout the year.
Using the same CPA year after year also allows them to be in a position to make suggestions and course corrections from one tax season to the next. Listening to their advice will make your business leaner and more efficient.
3. How can you help me grow my business?
A good CPA can be much more than a number cruncher. They can help you lay a financial groundwork that will empower your business to succeed over time. They have experience with proven processes and industry-specific best practices that you may not even be aware of (for example, not only do we provide tax services, we also can help you with monthly bookkeeping, HR & payroll, compliance & audit, and any number of CFO services). If they are involved with other businesses similar to yours, they may be able to help you take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace or changes in tax laws.
If you have secured the services of a CPA but aren’t tapping into their insights as a business advisor or CFO consultant, you are absolutely leaving money on the table.
4. What are the tax implications of this transaction?
Before signing the dotted line on a deal or spending significant money investing in new capital, a wise business owner will check in with his or her CPA to see how it will affect their tax situation. “What would happen if I…?” doesn’t always have clear-cut answers, so having the well-trained eyes of a seasoned professional (who is also well aware of your business situation) look at the deal is always a good move.
5. What are you seeing out there?
This question is the one that most people never think to ask their CPA. Your CPA must constantly scan the horizon to stay on top of changes in tax laws, the effects of current events on the markets, and industry changes related to clients they serve.
Since CPAs often serve multiple clients within similar industries, they are in a good position to know firsthand how your business is performing compared to your competition. A good CPA won’t name names or give away confidential information, but they can broadly let you know how’re you doing and what might help you do even better.
At CRS CPA, we believe that you should expect more from your CPA. We have written a guide to help you identify potentially very costly accounting mistakes that you may make. Download our free guide and learn how to make your business better.
No matter what might be on your mind, we’re always available for whatever questions come up during the course of your life and business. So, do you have questions to ask your CPA? Give us a call. We’d be honored to help!