If you are using a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) only at tax time, as some do, you probably are familiar with all the questions that come with your return. This due to both their need to fill out the forms correctly from your data, but also to verify the data they are recording is true. If they aren’t involved with your business and the decisions you make during the year that affect your taxes, they need to make sure the decisions you made were correct or - if incorrect - how to best report them. There is also the unfortunate possibility you did something that would violate tax law that needs to be addressed and accounted for in your return. There is a reason they are a CERTIFIED Public Accountant! As a licensed professional, they must protect their certification and that means doing things correctly.
Trust is a Two-Way Street
This is not to say your CPA doesn’t trust you, necessarily, just that they need to verify the information. As a tax professional, they know how complex business operations and decisions can be relative to the tax code. Trust is a two-way street, also, and you must trust the CPA with your most private business and financial information. Trust is built on familiarity and interaction. If you only meet with your CPA once a year, if you don’t consult with them on your business decisions, if they aren’t knowledgeable about your operations during the year, it is hard for either party to build trust.
To build trust with your CPA, involve them in your business and decisions throughout the year. At a minimum, it will go a long way to the surety your CPA has in filing your taxes. The CPA will have helped you make tax decisions, construct your financial reports, and file the interim reports, documents, and forms necessary throughout the year and for your employees. Working with your CPA and letting them get familiar with your operations and participate in decisions will build that trust you both need to get benefit from your business relationship. It will also save you money at tax time as you won’t be playing “20 Questions” when you meet with the CPA.
If you aren’t working with a CPA already, you can contract with a part-time CPA firm to work with your business. It can be expensive to hire a full-time CPA, as an employee or as a contractor. A part-time solution allows you to bring in the CPA as needed, but still provides the interaction necessary to build trust in your relationship. A good start is to contact companies like Des Moines Accountants or CustomOne CFO & Controllers. By using them as vendors, you can access their services on an as-needed basis and maintain control of your costs.
What qualities to look for in a CPA