Ready for Tax Time? 5 Signs You Need a CPA
Whether you punch the clock to help keep a business booming or you own your own business, there’s no avoiding it: tax season is here. Some of us look forward to this time of year - big refund equals big cash to splurge, pay off bills or book a vacay.
For many small business owners, this time of year equates to stress, piles of paperwork, tracking down and making sense of receipts and expenses… all ingredients for a whopping headache. It doesn’t have to be this way. A trusted and talented accountant could be your solution to relieve some of the painful parts of running a successful business. If any of these scenarios have you nodding your head, a CPA could be the prescription for your woes.
I keep getting odd notices from the IRS - are they real or a complete scam?
Unfortunately the world we live in can be a scary place. Scammers are out there and they’re working hard to prey on business owners, especially those who are new to the entrepreneurial scene. Not only will a CPA help decide which phone calls and letters need to be acknowledged, they can also apply real-life experience to how to work with the practices of the IRS and state authorities.
2. I spent hours choosing an accounting software, but I now have NO IDEA what to do with it.
We get it - choosing an accounting system was taxing enough. Now you’re trying to learn what it can do and how it can help you run your business… WOOF. The last thing you want to do is watch tutorials and YouTube videos, or spend time on the phone with the company’s customer service rep just to get the dang thing set up! Learning an accounting tool and applying it effectively is certainly not on the list of reasons why you started your business. If you’re giving yourself a pat on the back for figuring out how to publish an income statement, you should be! But now you have to figure out what you’re even looking at. By enlisting a CPA, you’ll outsource the work that needs to be done and enlist a partner to help you make sense of the cents, and ideally, dollars. They can guide you through the growth changes that will happen over the next few years, or for a lifetime.
3. I just took a look at the tax form instructions and they might as well be written in Swedish.
Did reviewing those instructions bring back memories of the last time you tried to put together a piece of IKEA furniture? Yeah, we get it. The guidelines to file your own taxes aren’t written for the average Sue. One misstep could result in a lot worse than a just a lopsided bookcase. We’re talking lots of corrective work on the flipside or even costly penalties that could take months or years to bounce back from. Leaving it to your accounting partner takes all the guesswork out of these often confusing instructions, protecting your business and bank account both short term and in the long run.
4. I own a [insert your business here], I don’t know what I don’t know.
Working with small business owners, we hear one single phrase more than any other - “I don’t know what I don’t know.” And they’re 100% spot on. We here at BP know the intimate details of tax code. So many small business owners live and die by what they hear chit chatting at networking events from other entrepreneurs loving to impart sage advice to their newbie counterparts. While most of these folks are completely well meaning, these little “tips” could lead you into murky waters. Having a trusted CPA on speed dial will help you in the long run. Not only will they separate fact from fiction, they’ll keep you abreast of what you absolutely NEED to know to run your business, and handle the rest without causing you to skip a beat.
5. I’m trying to stay lean - can I save by doing my own taxes, or will it ultimately cost me?
Remember that time in college when you felt empowered to color your hair all by yourself? It was around the time that deep reds were popular, and a box of DIY dye was just $5.99 at CVS - yahtzee! We all know how this story ends - two hundred dollars and three hours later in a salon. Neon orange (or magenta) just wasn’t the color you were going for, and you needed a pro to help you rectify your new ‘do. Now imagine this same scenario, but for your business. The stakes are much higher than a fashion faux pas. If you’re trying to keep overhead low, it usually means you’ll need to make investments upfront to protect yourself from penalties or corrective fees down the road. Going at it alone may help you run lean in some aspects of your business, but trying to keep up with your books and satisfy government requirements all by your onesies is not only risky, but time consuming. Let the pros handle this. It keep your liability low, and give you the chance to grow your business in the meantime.
At the end of the day, a CPA can be the light at the end of a dark tunnel for so many business owners. Accountants go through years of schooling to speak a language that most entrepreneurs can’t begin to translate. Let them handle the scary, mundane and confusing aspects of running your business, so you can focus on whatever it is you went out on your own to do!