Starting a Business? You Really Need an Accountant, Now

You registered your business, now it's time to get down to work, right?
You can, but if you want to save yourself a whole lot of time
and headaches later, go talk to an accountant first.

WHERE DO I START?

If your business is anything more than a small side hustle, you are going to want to use an accountant to do your taxes.

You may have done your own taxes every year, or even had one of those quickie tax places do them for you, but once you start a business, everything changes.

Sitting down with an accountant before you launch your business, how its structured and what you plan to do, before you ever do it, is the best hour of your time you could possibly use.

 

Why

A good accountant is going to give you advice to make sure you do everything right.
They will work with you to set up an accounting system that works for you and works for them.

If the accounting is fairly straightforward, they will help you set up an accounting system like QuickBooks,
where they can access the back end to prepare your taxes at the end of the year.

If your books are going to be complex, many accountants can be hired to handle the day by day accounting for you.

 

Deductions  

Make sure to talk to them about what is deductible as a business expense and what isn’t. Many people make assumptions on the deductibility of expenses and they are often wrong. The tax code is prescriptive, and it regularly changes. The rewrite of the federal tax code early in 2018 made massive changes, doing away with many formerly allowed deductions, and fundamentally changing how many small businesses are taxed.

Make sure you understand where the lines are drawn between personal use and business use, and how to make sure you are taking every business deduction you legally can to maximize your income and minimize your tax bill. Make sure you talk to an accountant about your particular business, because the tax code is littered with special deductions tailored to individual industries and products.

Also, make sure you and your accountant share the same philosophy on taking deductions and avoiding taxes. No one wants to pay more than they should in taxes, but some people want to aggressively claim deductions that run afoul of IRS rules. Every accountant is different. Make sure you are comfortable, and you and your accountant agree.

 

Relationship  

Finally, starting an early relationship with an accountant will be invaluable when you inevitably screw up and get a letter from the IRS telling you what you did something wrong and they are levying a fine against you.

There are few things scarier than getting that first letter from the IRS. But don’t panic.

If it’s a minor problem, and it’s the first time, an accountant can often get the penalties waived. If it’s something major, an accountant can work with you and the IRS to get it resolved. Serious problems occur with the IRS when you ignore them or deliberately try to scam them. The IRS just wants you to follow the law and pay the taxes you owe on time, and they will give you multiple opportunities to make things right before they take real action against you.

If you already have a relationship established with your accountant and they know what you are doing, it makes resolving the issue much easier and faster, and much more likely to be done right.

 

 

Who

Who do you choose as your accountant?
A good place to start is with Wisconsin Veteran Chamber of Commerce member Craig Kucik from CLA.
Like you, they have shown a commitment to supporting our mission.