5 Questions to Ask an Accountant Before Hiring One


If you’re a business owner, you probably have many questions to ask an accountant — because almost every decision you make can affect your tax liability.

For instance, if you hire a new employee, how much payroll tax will you have to pay? If you buy new equipment, can you deduct the cost on your tax return this year, or do you have to let your asset depreciate? Which business structure will help you save the most on taxes?

housewife asking the questions about the insurance plan on the tablet to the businesswoman. accountant doing contract work in home office. meeting at home concept.

Business Owners Need Tax Advisers

W-2 employees can usually file their own taxes every year by using tax software. Filing a tax return is more complex when you own a business. Business owners can’t simply just fill out a few forms and hit send once a year in April. They chart their taxes all year long.

Most business owners make estimated tax payments every quarter. They file monthly and quarterly sales taxes and payroll taxes, and they’re constantly looking for ways to reduce their total tax bill.

All these tax activities can leave you with a lot of questions. But you don’t have to go it alone. If you build a long-term relationship with a tax professional you can trust, you gain an adviser you can turn to when you’re making decisions that will affect your tax burden. And you can be proactive about your taxes instead of ignoring them and cleaning up the mess later.

Questions to Ask an Accountant Before Hiring One

There are tons of tax professionals available to help small business owners, but you can’t entrust your business to just anyone. Before you hire an accountant, sit down with them and talk to them about your business and where you’d like it to go. These questions to ask an accountant for taxes can help get the conversation started.

1. Do you have experience working with a business like mine?

Every business has unique accounting needs. Look for an accountant with experience working with businesses in your industry or businesses that operate like yours. If you can, ask the accountant for a reference from another business owner in your industry. A reference can tell you more about how the accountant works and how they could help your business.

2. How often will we be able to meet throughout the year?

When you hire an accountant, you’re not just hiring someone to help get you through tax season. One of the most valuable things an accountant can provide throughout the year is tax planning and education, and that will make tax season painless. Find someone who’ll be available to meet a couple of times a year — at least once a quarter — to discuss your current financials and any upcoming decisions.

3. How will you help me grow my business?

The best small business accountants don’t just focus on taxes. They’re consultants who provide unique insight into your financials and offer advice and strategies to boost your bottom line.

4. What is your tax philosophy?

Some tax professionals are cautious about taking tax deductions; others are more assertive, and some are aggressive. Make sure the accountant’s style matches your preference so that you’ll be on the same page.

5. Can you represent me if I get audited?

The IRS has strict rules about who can represent a taxpayer in an audit. Enrolled agents, certified public accountants and attorneys have unlimited representation rights. If you’re concerned about an audit, hire someone with one of these credentials. Other tax preparers have limited representation rights in audits.

Coming up with a list of questions to ask accountant for taxes can help you make sure that you’re hiring the right person for the job. Having a tax professional on your side can help make sure tax season goes smoothly and keep your business flourishing all year long.

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