Aug 30, 2021 Accounting — Eric Giguere

Small business owners: Here's why you need an accountant even if you do your own taxes

Rhonda Abrams

An accountant is necessary if you have a small business.

You may have been using an online tax service to file your taxes, but that's only the beginning. A good part of any small business team is an accountant.

This is true all the time, but it's even more important in the case of taxes for COVID-19.

Numerous COVID-19 relief bills, almost all of which include provisions that impact small businesses, were passed in 2020 and earlier this years. And some provisions overturned decisions that were made earlier. This makes 2020 business taxes very difficult. Even though May 17 is the new deadline to file your individual taxes, accountants are already very busy so you need to hustle to find one.

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Talk to an accountant to see if your company is eligible for tax benefits and government support.

The various forms of government assistance and tax benefits in 2020 were unbelievably confusing. One example: If you were granted a Paycheck Protection Program loan to cover your expenses, the government first said they weren't tax-deductible. But, late in 2020, they reversed the decision. Some states don't allow loan forgiveness funds to be taxable. Others might. If you kept employees on your payroll, you may - or may not - qualify for an Employee Retention Credit. We can help you!

Here are some examples of policies and programs from the government that may impact your 2020 small business taxes.

  • Paycheck Protection Program
  • EIDL loan loans and EIDL disaster loans
  • Employee Retention Credit
  • Any support from governments or other organizations

A good accountant does more than just prepare taxes. A good accountant will be your small-business adviser and not just a tax advisor. A good accountant will be able to help with all your financial concerns and provide guidance on how to best protect your personal financial health.

My life changed by my accountant - or at least, my financial life. Frankly, I owe much of my financial well-being to the advice my CPA, Steve Thielmann, of Ruzzo Scholl Murphy in Campbell, California, has given me over the last 20 years. Steve was a strange choice for my. You would never have thought that an accountant would wear flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt to work.

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Steve helped me in my early years to manage financial matters including accounting and money management systems for my business. He helped me design systems to reduce theft or embezzlement. I was also guided by him on how to structure investments, personal loans, losses, and other financial matters to ensure that I get the best tax treatment possible, as well as to manage my cash flow. He helped me create retirement plans that allowed me to feel financially safe as I plan for my future.

Steve Roberto (Leanne is our bookkeeper) and I would meet at least once a calendar year to discuss the business. This ensured that I had a dedicated, knowledgeable team of financial professionals on my side.

When working with an accountant, here are some questions to ask them to help you run your business, save money, and stay out of trouble:

  • What kind of taxes must I pay? What are my deadlines for paying taxes?
  • How can I lower my taxes?
  • Which expenses are deductible, nondeductible, or have to be depreciated?
  • What type of bookkeeping system should you use?
  • How do I reduce theft or embezzlement by setting up systems?
  • How do I pay myself? What are the tax implications?
  • Which bookkeeping method should I use?
  • Do I need to keep track of inventory? Which method would you use to keep track of inventory if so?
  • How can I manage my payroll and payroll tax?
  • What is the sales tax I must collect? What time? From whom?
  • What retirement program is possible and what amount can I contribute each month?
  • What accounting and tax considerations do I need to consider for my business?

You will save more money if you hire a small business accountant. Your taxes will be almost certain to drop, too.

Rhonda Abrams' new book, "The sh*t's hit the fan: Now What? 99 recession-proof tips for small business success" just came out. Rhonda was named "Top 30 Global Gurus for Startups". Connect with Rhonda through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Register for Rhonda's free business tips newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com. __S.64__

These views and opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those expressed by USA TODAY.

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