— May 15, 2018
Tax season is over (finally) and you’ve had time to recover. If you use a tax accountant, like I do, there’s a good chance you’re wondering if you got good value for what you spent.
A few years ago, I switched accountants. I started feeling unsure about the accountant, and I didn’t think I was getting what I paid for. My new tax accountant is someone I work better with — and someone I think offers good value for the money.
Here are four signs you have a great tax accountant:
1. They Specialize in Your Business
My original accountant had done books for some small business owners, but it wasn’t his specialty. Right now, I use a tax accountant that not only helps small business owners, but he is super niche, specializing in freelancers and solopreneurs.
It’s great to work with someone who understands my business model in ways my old accountant didn’t.
2. A Good Tax Accountant is Responsive
How quickly does your accountant respond to your questions? Even though my accountant has several other clients, he makes time to get back to me. If he can’t talk immediately, he messages me when he’s free and we can go from there.
If I have a quick question, I can message him and get a response very quickly. My old accountant answered questions via email with 24 hours, which is acceptable, but it’s a completely different ball game with my new accountant — even at the height of tax season.
Think about how responsive your accountant is, and then see if it makes sense to retain them, based on that information.
3. You Can Count on Them to Help You with the IRS
This feels like the bare minimum that should be expected with any tax accountant, but you might be surprised. I’ve seen accountants who charge extra if you need help with an audit. My old accountant didn’t charge extra when I went through a state audit, but he wasn’t super helpful, either. He did the minimum and helped with the process, but the service wasn’t outstanding, and I had to do a lot of things on my own.
My new accountant, though, has been much more helpful. When faced with a penalty as the result of a late filing on a partner business return, he helped with a letter, and then sent it. He took care of everything, without charging extra, because he believes that he should be managing that for us as part of his tax preparation service.
4. You Get Year-Round Tax Planning Help
Does your tax accountant just show up for you during tax season and then disappear for everything else?
They might not be the best fit.
Instead, look for someone who can help you look at the year ahead and make plans. Tax planning is an essential part of good business practices. With a good tax accountant, you can set up for the coming year and make the most out of the current law.
Not only that, but consider someone who has other services to provide. My accountant will help manage payroll and Quickbooks and take care of other issues as well. These upgraded services are worth it in some cases so that you can get the best integrated planning throughout the year.