I have had this happen “a couple of times” throughout my career where we have found that our clients have gone out and purchased a piece of equipment, a new car, traded a car off, or spent corporate money for the benefit of a shareholder or even bought into another business with company money.
As accountants we would always rather know too much than not enough. In our world oversharing is a great thing and our ability to provide the best advise and help our client most effectively is to know more, not less, and to know info sooner, not later.
Every time money is spent it should have a purpose. It also, however, has a consequence. Sometimes when the cat is out of the bag, it impossible to get it back into the bag.
Let’s say you have a vehicle you use for work, you traded it off and now have a new vehicle and note.
Well, I see the new note payment, but I don’t know what you bought, I don’t know what you got rid of, I don’t know the deal you made for the vehicle.
Did you pay sales tax on that car? Had you already depreciated the car? Is the new vehicle greater than 6000 Pounds? Do you have more vehicles on your books than people in your organization? Is there a special purpose to this vehicle, such as is it a catering truck?
All of these things go into the decision, but you didn’t ask about them, nor did you tell, and now crucial pieces of accounting are not in your accountant’s hands.
So our default is this: we would rather know EVERYTHING and let us filter through what is necessary, than not know anything and miss something, because it’s hard to find those needles in the haystack.
As I’ve said in previous blogs, all of this is not meant to beat up our clients. We get it, first they are super busy doing important business owner stuff, second they aren’t necessarily accountants.
The reality of it is that our clients don’t realize necessarily what we do, so it’s part of our job to educate them.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s amazing how often your questions can lead us down different paths and different answers based on the circumstances.
We truly believe that it is our team’s job to educate you about the financial implications of what’s going on inside of your business.
If you’re making a decision to buy a half-million dollar piece of equipment don’t you think it makes sense to run it by your accountant to determine what could be the impact of that purchase that you might not have necessarily thought about? There could even be a better way to structure how it was purchased that makes it more advantageous towards you! A great example of this is owner occupied commercial real estate.
All of these things start with a conversation and a lot of time we simply just don’t know what’s going on and when we do find out it’s too late to structure is so that it is advantageous.
We do have some clients that are amazing at communicating with us.
There is one that comes to mind that is an optometrist that we have been serving for years.
As his practice has grown, he always talks through what he is thinking about doing as far as equipment or purchases or hiring.
Let’s say he’s come up with a new piece of equipment for him to both generate revenue from and that also creates a more efficient process in his business to see his patients.
The goal is for him to pay for that equipment with new services and so together we talk through the math.
We recommend he purchase it and discuss with him the depreciation rules that are going to happen on that piece of equipment, what it looks like from a tax standpoint, what he is going to charge for the service, how many people does he think that he can see… etc.
From all of this we can give him realistic numbers on what the ROI on that machine could be.
And it could be that the machine is going to pay for itself in six months so go ahead and do it, OR it could be that the machine would take seventeen years to pay off and then thirty more to pay for itself making it not worth it.
In his business we have had both of these cases. We also talk about inventory management, prescription and non-prescription accessories, things that he has in his stores, and all of these things are conversations we need to be having with each of our clients.
The more questions you ask the better.
Also this is where the true value of having an accountant by your side to discuss things can really help you. Our goal is to help you make more money and keep more of it after taxes.
To have someone pick up the phone and ask questions holds a lot of value. It shows that you care and understand that what we are doing is adding a lot of value to your organization, and it shows that you are actually looking at the things we are doing and providing.
Let us be a part of those conversations because it’s ultimately helpful for you but it’s also, selfishly, the super fun part for us!
Feel free to reach out anytime to discuss what is going on in your business and let us be that sounding board for the decisions you are thinking about making. We love being in your corner!