By: Kristie Rants, Eide Bailly LLP
We get it: the thought of sitting down and talking with your accountant might be a little scary. After all, all they do all day is sit and stare at numbers and do math, and their jargon and lingo is hard, if not impossible, to understand, right?
While the thought of having conversations with your accountant might be intimidating, it really shouldn’t be. More often than not, your friendly number cruncher wants to talk to you, too (and we promise to use words that make sense)!
To help the conversation go smoothly, we came up with some tips to help you have successful conversations with your accountant.
Communication is key
- First and foremost: figure out the best method for communicating with your accountant. Whether it’s in person, email or even Skype, agree on what works best for both of you.
- Decide on frequency for communicating. Some businesses may need to have meetings weekly, while others may be on a monthly schedule. This is usually driven by business needs.
- Make sure you’re both on the same page. It’s important that your accountant understands your business, just as you should be able to understand what they’re talking about. If you are unsure about the topic being discussed, don’t nod your head – ask more questions!
- Establish a relationship. Create an environment where both you and your accountant are comfortable with each other. When you have a solid relationship with your accountant, it’s often easier to ask whatever is on your mind, no matter how basic it may seem.
- Come prepared to each meeting. Make sure you have organized and complete information to share. If you’re not sure what exactly to bring, ask your accountant. He or she can give you a list of documents and information that might be needed.
- Be prepared to share any changes occurring in your business. This keeps your accountant in the know and decreases the likelihood of any unwanted surprises in the future.
- Ask questions throughout the year and as they arise rather than holding them all in. It’s easier to remember and examine information right away, rather than waiting six months down the road.
- If your accountant sends out newsletters, articles, etc., read them! These often contain current and important information that can impact your business. If your accountant thinks it’s important, you should give it a read as well.
Accountants wear many hats
- Your accountant likely has access to many resources to help you with any phase of your business. Your accountant can do all sorts of tax planning, whether you’re interested in putting away additional money in a retirement plan or wondering what your options are for depreciating equipment. Maybe a cost segregation study to accelerate depreciation or a 179d study makes sense for you!
- Accountants can even help train you or your staff. Ask them if they offer an on-site service. Sometimes a few hours of training makes all of the difference. (Shameless plug: our accounting coach services do just that)!
- Consider what stage your business is in. If you’re thinking about selling (or buying) or even retiring, your accountant can likely help you or introduce you to someone who can get you on the right track for a successful transition. They have the expertise to help you succeed.
The moral of the story…
Communicating with accountants can seem intimidating and confusing. Using these tips can help you have successful conversations. If you’re still intimidated, reach out. We promise to help you understand the accounting side of your business so you can get back to doing what you love.