Frequently Asked Questions
A qualified, chartered professional accountant (CPA) can introduce you to tax savings opportunities that you might not know exist. They can also prevent you from making potentially irreversible financial mistakes. A good accounting firm will be up to date on all the latest rules and regulations, and you will benefit from this knowledge. With so many resources available now through online systems, you may wonder why you need an accounting firm? But when you have skilled and knowledgeable experts, who cares about you, and are working on your behalf, you can rest assured knowing you’re in good hands.
When you do invest in the services of a CPA firm, it’s important to know what to ask. Not only to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth, but also to ensure he or she helps you do what’s best for your business and your life goals and purpose.
- Find out what they stand for.
- Find out their background and experience, and their accreditations.
- Assess their services and expertise, knowledge and skills.
- Are they a fit for your financial needs.
- Do you feel comfortable when you meet them.
- Do you believe that they truly care about you, your family and your business.
This might seem like too simple a question, but clear, effective and frequent communication is the key to a healthy, beneficial relationship with your accountant. Establish early on how often you’ll connect, either in person, on the phone or online. Decide together if you’ll meet weekly, monthly or semi-annually. Your individual family, business and personal dynamics all must be considered in the frequency of being in touch.
Deciphering all the tax rules and regulations, and guiding you through the process is just part of their job. But a good tax firm will also work with you long before tax filing time to ensure you have set up your personal and business accounting infrastructure to maximize your tax savings. They will know which tax credits and deductions you should claim, and advise you how to set up for the long-term advantage, and to maximize write-offs.
A good accounting team will help you to prepare all of your tax information long before the filing deadline. To avoid the year-end rush, get your accountant involved in helping you gather all the necessary accounting documents and data throughout year.
A skilled accountant should get to know you and your personal financial and business financials well enough to regularly keep you aware of and swiftly and appropriately reacting to an array of factors that could affect your bottom line, for better or for worse.
Your accountant should be knowledgeable and able to advise you on accounting principles, corporate and individual tax, retirement and legacy planning and financial planning.
Your accountant should also work collaboratively with you in a way that makes it easy for you to consider and understand which actions you need to take now and in the future, ideally without the usual confusing jargon. If an entrepreneur in unable to develop that type of relationship with her accountant, it may be time to look for a new one.
A qualified accountant can help business owners to grow and reach their greatest potential by ensuring there is appropriate foundations in place. Your vision cannot be realized if you haven’t considered some important principles.
To grow, you must start with a financial model that is practical and built on a a solid foundation. You then need a consistent and disciplined accounting cycle so that you can effectively manage your business. You also must be able to accurately analyze and assess your financial results on an ongoing basis. This is the key to success.
Your accountant must be able to estimate the value of your business and tangible assets. He or she should start by examining your financial plan and and help prepare a business proforma to determine short term cash flow and long term revenue growth.
Another way your accountant can accurately assess your business’s value is by taking the time to truly understand what you do and the industry in which you operate. They can help entrepreneurs understand which aspects their business drive their value, and can guide the business owner toward maximizing those aspects of their business.
Not being 100 percent honest with your accountant is the worst mistake you could make. The truth will come out, either in the planning stage or if the CRA conducts an audit. You must trust your accounting team to hold all your information with the utmost level of privacy and security. You must also know that they are going to be completely straight up about what you can and can’t do.
Failing to follow the advice of your accountant is another common mistake. You hire your accountant for expertise and knowledge. But you should always review their advice and after full consideration, work together to make the best decisions for your personal situation. Sometimes general rules apply, but the best will look at your individual needs and ensure you are involved in the leadership of your own life decisions.