How to get the best out of your CPA
5 Things Your Accountant Wishes You Knew
by Troy Martin
Ever feel like you're out of your depth when talking to your accountant? Think they must pull their hair after you leave because you're such a frustrating client? You may not be wrong.
It can be hard to work your head around tax matters, and accountants usually deal with clients at their worst – tax season. So, you aren't alone in thinking that there are things your accountant wish you knew so you could be an easier client for them.
1. Understand what's going on.
Most people come into their accountant's office and ask them to "fix everything." This attitude means you don't actually want to understand the problem or the solution and just want to pay someone to do it for you.
Most accountants wish you took the time to understand how your tax filing works. They want you to ask questions if you are confused, so you don't end up costing yourself more money in the end, according to Andrew B. Clawson of ABC Law in Utah.
2. Take action.
Be proactive in taking action when required. Don't just expect your accountant to handle everything. Instead, make the effort to fix the problem yourself first before the problem gets too big to handle.
Sometimes people will go to their accountant at the nth hour when the issue has escalated beyond where it can easily be handled. But accountants may not be able to solve the issue by then either. It is always better to approach them before things get out of control.
3. You're not their only client.
It's easy to think you're your accountant's only client, since you never actually see another client with them except yourself, but you're wrong. Your accountant has to manage the requirements of multiple clients in their weekly schedule, so don't complicate matters by expecting to be dealt with first.
This also means that come tax season, every one of their clients has the same filing deadline to meet, so don't all show up in the last few days expecting them to get your filing done first.
Setting unrealistic expectations for tax deadlines on your accountant will only result in mistakes and human errors. Treat them like any professional by asking them how long something will take and giving them more than enough time to handle it.
4. They don't make the law.
While you may think differently, your accountant has nothing to do with deciding how much you're taxed. They'll help you file your taxes, but they don't want to be blamed if the tax return is lower than you think.
Don't automatically assume, however, that they made a mistake. They try and do the best they can for every client, but after a certain point, they have no control over your taxes.
5. Be organized.
When you come into the office, don't hand them a box of receipts and think they'll know what to do with them. Be a little organized with your receipts and financial documents, and try to put all the information down, so it's easy for them to review.
The time you spend organizing can save them countless hours, as well as help avoid potential errors in your filings.
With this information in hand, you can stop worrying about being your accountant's worst client. In fact, this year, they may actually be excited to see you walk in the door.
Reviewed February 2018
Take the Next Step:
- Don't miss these 10 ways to put your tax refund to work for you.
- Make sure you're getting the best CD rate. Use our simple CD tool to find out. It's completely private, easy to use and you'll know what rate is available to you in seconds!
- Get the interest you deserve! Compare money market and savings account rates with our best rate finder. It only takes a minute and your privacy is completely protected.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
Troy has been married for 27 years to his wife Shauna. They have six active children and they love to participate in many extracurricular activities, including boating, flying, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and adventure motorcycling (pretty much whatever will get them outside). Troy has a vast amount of experience in the following business sectors: medical, dental, manufacturing, retail, restaurants, construction, farming and ranching. He is a shareholder in Cook Martin Poulson, a Utah accounting firm.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.