Our goal as an accounting firm has always been to help our business owners make more money and keep more of it.
We desire to give you the insight you need to run an awesome business, and we do this by providing both systems and insights so that your back office support (us) is a true extension of your business.
Today, this is really for our clients because we feel it is important to deliver financial insight to you in an accurate and timely basis, and there are many ways that you can help us do that efficiently.
It is hard to know what you don’t know that you should know, right?
This is not meant to be a client beat up session; we can do that behind closed doors! This is a list of things that we, your accounting team, wishes you knew so that we could provide you with the absolute best service possible.
Since it is tax season, let’s begin with taxes.
Our biggest challenge as an accounting firm is not the actual work. Our biggest challenge is getting your stuff IN the door at the right time, in the right format, with everything we need.
This also means not getting the stuff we do not really need. That can be confusing, right? That is why the more organized you can be the easier it is for our accounting team to help.
We tend to ask for certain documents in a certain format (i.e. – PDF, Excel, Word, etc.) for a specific reason. Sometimes, you might be in a rush and only read about half of what our email says. Then you send us half of what we asked for and the format may be only half of what we ideally need it to be.
Our accounting team then must choose if they are going to try and decipher what you gave us versus what we asked for and then begin the chase for the missing items. This is not a fun process for you, of course, as you’re busy running your business. The chase is also super inefficient and not what you want to pay us to do.
You would rather us be the tax experts we are instead of playing phone tag or email tag to get a needed document to produce your taxes. Like I said above, being organized matters.
If we ask for four different things in an email, try to send us a single email with each of the four items requested, not four separate emails. This is small, but helps us be more efficient.
If you need help gathering your documents, we are here to help. We can always jump on zoom or on a call and help you get the spreadsheet formatted or the login fixed.
Another critical part of getting your data is being able to get in a timely matter.
We have deadlines of course, so when we request documents, it is equally as important to get those by the due date requested. The sooner you can send along your stuff, the better.
But if it cannot be sooner, it’s always a good idea to communicate to us when you can get items to us so we can adjust our work schedule. Once we have asked for something by a certain day or time, once that day or time has passed and we haven’t received it, it now has to be reworked into our schedule.
We have a lot of overlapping deadlines with all of the different government agencies, all with a hand in your pocket. This means we have to re-prioritize what we are going to do when, and with whom.
The day you drop off your documents is far from the day we will WORK on your documents. That is why we request them so early, the earlier we get them the sooner we schedule a time to work on them, because working on them will take time. We have our own process from start to finish for quality control and this step takes time.
This means we do not just jam the work into a couple of days, we have a system of checks and balances, so nothing gets missed. We want to make sure the best set of eyes gets on your work at the correct time so that we are producing the work in an efficient and accurate manner.
The last and most important thing we wished you knew was to ask more questions.
It is important when you don’t understand something, or would like a number clarified, or have an idea to grow the business, to ask us.
Remember above, we do not always know what you don’t know. That sounds silly to say, but it is okay if you don’t understand credits and debits or why one item goes on your balance sheet and another one doesn’t. That is why you hired our team.
What is important is being sure you understand how those numbers drive your profitability as a business. Asking questions, even if they seem silly, are where we can deliver the greatest insight, and it helps us understand your goals better.
We want you to trust us with your books, and you can trust us to handle them, but you should always understand what we do for you and why we do what we do even if you do not need to know how we execute on it.
Review the financials we give you or the tax return we give you.
Ask the questions you feel like you should know but do not.
We know you aren’t an accountant, and it is our job to educate and provide insight into what we are providing you. If we explain it and you still do not get it, that’s ok. We probably did not actually put it into English but rather accountinease…A language that only nerds like us sometimes understand.
Remember the big goal, these numbers are a tool to make decisions from, so clarity is incredibly important.
On the tax return side, you REALLY need to know what you are signing. You are signing under penalties of perjury (Jail!) that the return is accurate based on the best of your knowledge and I do not think plausible deniability is a good defense.
In summary, the top three things you can do so that we can serve you better is ask us questions, send information to us in the format we ask for, and send us your information by the due date we request. If for some reason, you cannot do those things, be diligent to communicate with us, so we can adjust our schedule and accommodate your work.
You will be surprised at how doing these small things can make such a difference for your accountant. Our number one goal is to do the best for you we possibly can every day.
If you have questions, contact us, we would be happy to setup a 15-minute phone call with you to talk about your accounting needs. Like we say, you do not know what you don’t know, so let us help you ask the right questions!