With the holiday season in full swing, the eternal busy-ness of business often kicks into a higher gear.
There’s always plenty for a business owner to do every month of the year… but during the holidays, it seems like there’s more than plenty.
And with the festive mood we’re all striving for this time of year, often the last thing you want to think about is tax planning.
But here’s the good news: the savvy entrepreneur gets professional help with tax planning from an experienced accountant – you can do this! – and a good accountant generally saves your business more than their services cost (often, a lot more).
So this might not be the best time of year to add something new to your personal to-do list… but it’s a great time to find a pro to help you plan for the most favorable tax situation for your business in 2019.
The best tax-planning accountants have these attributes:
- A “client first” operating principle. You’ll know you’ve found the right accountant when you meet them and get a clear indication that they’re always going to be on your side. Believe it or not, there are some accountants out there who are less concerned with your business than they are with making sure the IRS is kept happy! You want an accountant who keeps the Tax Man happy enough, but who puts your business first.
- Experience and “business savvy…” You want an accountant who is well-versed in business. You may think this is true of all accountants… but it isn’t. Has your accountant been in business for themselves? What’s his or her track record and work history?
- …But curious about YOUR business. If you’re working with someone who’s a consummate pro in business – but acts like kind-of a “know it all,” it’s likely to be a frustrating experience. A great accountant knows business, but they also are aware that they don’t know everything about your business. They ask a lot of questions, and they show genuine interest and curiosity in your enterprise.
- Highly responsive. You’re busy, of course. And when tax season rolls around, you’re going to be flying! You need a tax accountant who appreciates that we’re all busy, and who does you the courtesy of returning your calls and emails within a reasonable time frame. Again, this is something you should expect from any accountant… but something that’s far from a universal practice.
- Ability to be a “thought partner.” Sure, as your accountant, a true professional will tell you they “can’t tell you what to do.” But a good accountant is willing to kick ideas around with you, and think through the tax implications of, say, a new product line or entry into a new geographic market. And they have the intellectual horsepower to be a truly helpful advisor.
- Constant learning. The best accountants know what they know… and they know what they don’t know. They keep themselves current on the constantly-evolving tax landscape, and they help your business anticipate changes. Their advice helps you maximize opportunities and minimize threats to your bottom line.
- Year-round attention. A great tax accountant is thinking about your business, and your tax situation, all year long – not just at “tax season.”
- And skill with special situations. Solid tax planning goes beyond next year’s tax bill. The best tax accountants can help you with estate planning, trusts, succession and retirement planning, and corporate planned giving programs. They might even be the tax-planning solution for a non-profit entity with which you might be involved aside from your business.
Don’t let the busy-ness of the holiday season put your business behind the tax curve. Get in touch with a professional tax accountant today, and let them convince you they can “check all the boxes” to provide your firm with great tax advice – for 2019 and beyond.