Talking about finances can be difficult for anyone. But just as you should always tell your doctor your symptoms (no matter how embarrassing) or your spouse what’s really bothering you, you should always be open, honest and truthful with your accountant.
Here are five things you might not want to say to your accountant, but that you really should:
1. You’re running late on your taxes
Nobody likes to miss a deadline, especially a small business owner who prides herself on her tireless work ethic. But sometimes you’ll simply need more time to get all of your numbers together. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But your accountant needs to know ahead of time so that she can help you make the right financial moves – and avoid fines and penalties. Did you know that practically everyone can get a tax deadline extension beyond April 15th (March 15th if you’re a corporation) and all it really takes is a simple form you can submit electronically?
2. You made a mistake
Maybe you cashed out your 401(k) or accidentally bought a business asset for more than it was worth. It can be embarrassing to admit that you aren’t as money savvy as you thought you were. Tell your accountant – and tell him as soon as possible. He can give you advice to mitigate the harm. Just don’t wait until tax filing time. By then it might be too late to make the right tax moves within the taxable year.
3. You aren’t making money
Making big bucks is another point of pride for small business owners. But some quarters, or even some years, just aren’t as flush as others. Once again, don’t be afraid to tell your accountant and tell her quickly. If you’re just starting out, she’ll be able to help you determine write-offs like startup costs. Even if you’ve been in business for a while and things have taken a downturn, she’ll have savvy financial advice.
4. You don’t understand something
Depreciate what? If your accountant is making a move that you don’t understand, speak up and ask! Ultimately you, not your accountant, are responsible for any financial moves you make or tax returns that you file. Don’t keep silent and find yourself in bigger trouble later.
5. Something seems unimportant
Did your brother-in-law move in and start spending his nights on a couch in your home office? Uh oh. While this may not seem like important information to share with your accountant, it can actually have big implications on your tax return, since that means you could lose your hefty home office deduction. Things like buying or selling vehicles or moving can also have tax implications. Be sure to share all this with your accountant so he can help you plan for a secure financial future.