Do I really need to pay an accountant to prepare my financial statements? Couldn’t I save money doing it myself?
You could, but how valuable is your time? What could you be doing to build your business with that time? Could you earn more than what an accountant would cost? Also, don’t forget: an8 accountant knows the formatting standards that the readers (bankers, investors, etc.) of your statements expect, and you’re more likely to answer these questions differently as your business grows. Moreover, ask yourself if you possess the skills and desire to do it yourself. Will you need to learn these skills and then keep yourself up-to-date? Do you really want to crunch numbers? Do you want more than just a report when you’re done—do you want to understand what the numbers mean?
Should I consult an accountant if I’m starting a new business?
Yes. You’ll need to discuss the best organization for your company for tax purposes as well as numerous other issues relating to operations, including pricing, inventory, payroll, liability and profit margins. How will you handle your bookkeeping, banking, payroll and bill payments? Don’t wait until year-end to hold these discussions. You could make decisions without the proper advice, which could hurt you financially or legally.
How much should I withhold from my paycheck?
The answer depends on many factors. Do you prefer to withhold more today so you get a refund next year? (Your money is really an interest-free loan from you to Uncle Sam). Or are you disciplined enough to save some of your paycheck today to pay your taxes next year? (You could invest the money in the meantime).
Considering your prior year tax liability, do you know how to avoid an underpayment penalty?
What if I have estate, gifting or asset protection concerns?
Before making a serious and perhaps irreversible decision about shifting assets to other individuals, trustees, guardians or planning the transfer of your estate, consult a qualified professional about how to take advantage of the many tools available to preserve your assets with the least tax and transaction costs. Consulting a team of an attorney, investment advisor and accountant is generally the best way to develop the appropriate plan to meet your goals.
What should I consider before hiring an accountant?
Your first step is to decide how best we can serve you. The more you understand what you need, the better job we can do together of matching our services to those needs. And if you’re not sure where to start, we can assess your situation and offer you guidance. Different accounting firms provide different styles and levels of experience and services. Some general questions you should ask yourself might be:
• Will you need help with personal financial issues, individual or corporate tax returns, retirement, estate, or college planning?
• Are you seeking investment guidance?
• Do you need business financial statements? Do those statements need to be audited, reviewed or compiled? How often? Are you required to provide specific financial reports to government entities?
• Are you confident in your own ability (or your staff’s ability) to handle financial and operational issues? Do you want to do as much as possible yourself, or are you considering outsourcing some functions, such as bookkeeping and/or payroll?
• Do you need help preparing a business plan or a personal or business loan application?
• Do you need other consulting services, such as strategic planning, budgeting, or costs analysis?
• What can you budget for accounting services?