Valentine’s Day often puts February’s focus squarely on your relationships. And while all the talk this month is about ROMANTIC relationships, here’s why we think you should be focused on another: the relationship you have with your CPA. Is it similar to your romantic ones? Maybe not, but here’s one component you need in both: communication.
Communication is the key to any good relationship, so what does it mean when your accountant isn’t picking up the phone when you call? As you can imagine, it doesn’t mean anything good.
Why your accountant might not be taking your calls
OK, you’ve gathered all your files for the entire year, crammed them in a shoebox (or digital shoebox), and sent them off to your accountant or CPA firm. Then… crickets. The wait is what really gets you, right? It’s hard not to feel anxious when you’re waiting to see how your taxes are going to shake out. Do you owe a lot of money? Did you do something wrong? So why won’t your CPA or accountant pick up the phone? The answer is actually pretty simple.
Your accountant hasn’t talked to you because they haven’t worked on your return yet.
Is it really that obvious? In 9 out of 10 cases it is! And before you get really mad at your accountant, let’s explain some stuff. For an annual accountant to get through the entire year’s worth of bookkeeping is a TON of work. And to borrow a phrase we love, not everyone wants to eat that frog.
You’re also not the only client an annual accountant has. They might have hundreds of other clients in the exact same boat. That’s a lot of returns in a short amount of time. And you know what? They might not be getting back to you for one simple reason – your return is at the bottom of the pile.
You can’t build a good relationship with an accountant that you only meet with once a year.
How to have a good relationship with your accountant
Again, this isn’t a big secret: a good relationship is based on communication and mutual respect! That doesn’t just happen, it comes when you have a great system in place, clear goals, and trust. For us, that looks like monthly accounting. Now, everyone has their own goals for their books, but for most folks this is THE best way to plan for the future – and have a great relationship with your accountant, so you won’t ever have to feel that anxiety when tax season rolls around.
What does good communication look like?
Before we talk about this, let’s start with a story. 2022 was a crazy year for taxes. We had more surprise tax stuff come up in 2022 than any year before. Why? Because folks made a lot on investments early in the year, so that even if there was some stagnation towards the end, most folks' investments were higher than expected.
For us, it was important to communicate with our clients that we were aware of this. We did it by planning with them, creating systems and a plan so that those surprise taxes wouldn’t be a problem.
Good communication traits to look for in your accountant:
Your accountant gives you options. Very rarely is a solution black or white. Let’s take the idea of buying a new truck. In some ways it might benefit you, in others it might not. An accountant can give you the lay of the land and tell you what either option will mean for your business.
They’ve taught you to be financially literate. Our onboarding process is a little intense, but it’s designed to give you the tools you need to make monthly reports and ultimately plan the future of your business. We believe that any good owner is an informed owner.
You’re generating a P&L every month. P&Ls are a great snapshot of where your business is – and where it’s going next. We show our clients how to log their checks and put bills directly into QuickBooks, but we’ll also work with them to use third party systems like Bill.com. All that data is coded and combined with revenue and expense info into a formal set of financial statements every month.
We can’t usually warn our clients about unforeseen issues (hence the word, unforeseen), but what we CAN do is keep an open door for our clients. We let them know that if they have a situation of any kind, bring it to us first. We’ve built that relationship through hard work and trust, and ultimately, results. If you can’t say the same for your current accountant, maybe it’s time to make a change. We can help – let's talk!