Can I share a little secret with you? I actually enjoy attending my tax appointment. Every year, my husband and turn it into a date night! We attend our tax meeting with our accountant, do some shopping and end the evening with a yummy dinner. With having five children, it can be difficult to go on a regular date night so this gives us something to look forward to each year!
How did tax season go for you? Were you scrambling at the last minute to find all your receipts or were you calm, cool and collected going into your tax appointment? I used to stress about tax time, but after implementing a weekly CFO day my tax appointments now go smoothly!
As creative business owners, it can be hard to focus on the numbers in our business. Reading through a balance sheet can be confusing and don’t even get me started on deciphering a P&L statement! We view this meeting with our accountant as an opportunity to better understand our businesses and ask detailed questions. It can be hard to reach out to a professional for help if you are struggling with your taxes, but I promise it’ll be beneficial in the long run!
Even though the tax season is technically over, there are still some key questions to talk to your tax professional about as you plan for the remainder of the year. Here are five questions every creative business owner needs to ask their CPA to better understand their business (and have a smooth tax appointment)!
5 Questions Creatives Should Ask Their CPA At Tax Time
How can I improve my bookkeeping?
My first few years in business I tracked my revenue, expenses, and mileage in a Google sheets document. I kept all of my receipts for every transaction in an accordian binder –– organized by the event and date of transaction. I would spend hours leading up to my tax appointment locating my receipts, printing them and making sure they were organized. At the time, I was too afraid to invest in a product like Quickbooks because it looked too complicated and more than what I needed.
When meeting with my accountant a few years back I blatantly asked her, “Is there a way I could improve my bookkeeping for you?” She was honest with me and said I should try out Quickbooks for my bookkeeping. Even though there is a small investment, she promised the software would save me time + energy, keep me organized, and decrease potential errors.
She was right! I started to utilize the software shortly after our meeting and I haven’t looked back since. I’m more organized, less stressed, and no longer have to search for receipts!
At your next meeting, ask your professional how you can improve your bookkeeping for the next year. They can provide you with some great tips on how to manage your business finances + maximize your tax savings!
Do you see any red flags?
Ask your professional if they see any red flags while looking through your numbers. Is there an expense that is too high or too low? Do they see any areas where you could cut costs or save money? Are you in a position to bring on more help or make an investment?
It’s worth having a conversation with them so you can make improvements going forward!
Are there any areas where I can decrease my tax burden?
There are many legal and ethical ways to decrease your tax burden, and it’s likely your professional knows the best tips and tricks! Utilize their expertise and see if there are strategic moves you can make to decrease your tax burden
What new tax laws will impact me next year?
IRS rules and business accounting practices change more frequently than you might think! Ask your professional if there are any new rules that will become effective in the next six to twelve months, and how it’ll affect your business. By asking this question, you and your professional can discuss the best steps to prepare for those new laws in the months ahead.
What can I do to make your job easier?
Every tax professional loves this question! What can I do to make your job easier? They will likely provide you with tips to prepare your books so they aren’t having to make tons of corrections. If your professional charges by the hour, making all those corrections on your behalf could add up quickly! Once you have an understanding of the information you need to provide makes preparing for tax time much easier on your end!
After I began utilizing Quickbooks in my business it made both of our jobs easier. It was because of her suggestion that I even began to utilize the software! Definitely don’t be afraid to ask your professional if there is anything you can do to make their job easier!
I hope these five questions aid you in learning more about your business and how you can best prepare for tax time in the days ahead! Are there any questions you ask your tax professional that I missed? Tell me in the comments below!