Three Reasons Why You Should Have Already talked to your Accountant this Year
As the days grow shorter, temperature cools and leaves start to change – it’s easy to forget about the importance of talking with your accountant about 2018’s potential tax bill. Let’s be honest, talking with your accountant does not usually rise to the top of your list. However, as I have found through personal experience, you need to chat with your accountant regularly and early in the year. If you haven’t spoken yet with them yet, please read my three reasons why you need to setup a meeting now!
In early 2015 as I entered into the first full year of helping my wife manage her dental practice – I asked my accoutnant when we would be meeting to talk about tax strategies Their response was “we don’t usually discuss those things until late November or most likely in December?”
When I discussed this with our financial adviser, he immediately referred me to a new accountant!
I met with the new accountant and was so impressed I decided to move my business to them right away. Soon after, we reviewed numbers, the accountant created projections of our tax liability and helped us create strategies to minimize our burden. Luckily, we were at a point in the year where we could still make relatively easy changes to payroll deductions, 401(k) and HSA contributions, capital purchases, etc.
Here are three keys to managing your accountant and approach to taxes:
#1 – Your Advisors Work for You
If your advisor is not giving you what you need, then why keep them? Breaking off relationships, even business ones, can be very uneasy. Since many dentists are juggling so many aspects of owning a practice, – it’s important to get the answers you need when you need them. Thankfully, I had a financial advisor who encouraged me to make a change to our support team!
#2 Build a Team that Works Together
Whether this means taking your advisors up on their referrals or interviewing them beforehand and asking of their willingness and ability to work with others that you may hire – having a team is key. Team members should obviously be an accountant and a financial advisor, but may also include a lawyer, and insurance agent, and maybe even a banker. My financial advisor is known to have follow-up conversations with my accountant on my behalf, and then report back on the high points of their discussion. Think of it as interdisciplinary care for your finances.
#3 – Good Decisions are Never Made in a Time Crunch
There is a great video I saw on LinkedIn post showing someone drawing over the course of 10 seconds, 1 minute, and 10 minutes. The point of the post was to show how different a result you will get when you spend more time on a task. Making decisions and moving money at the last minute is never ideal. Just like patients make far better decisions on their dentistry when they’re not burdened with a toothache, you will be way better off if you plan and revisit your financial goals throughout the year!
Now that you know the importance of planning for taxes, you need to act!
- Assemble recent paychecks from you/your spouse
- Collect statements on retirement, health savings accounts, mortgage
- Collect statements from any investment accounts you may have
- Estimate your year-end charity, mileage, or other deductions you may have
- Produce a full P&L (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows) if you manage your own books.
- Deliver everything to your accountant and request a meeting (ASAP)
- Contact your financial advisor and see if they can attend as well
A little bit of planning will go a long way to minimizing your tax burden and maximizing your wealth
Adam Heim is a life-long learner, enthusiastic supporter of small business and hopeful entrepreneur. He has spent nearly a decade in banking and has a background in product pricing, commercial real estate, demographics and financial modeling. Adam created FirstTimeDentist.com in response to his perceived ‘gap’ in quality information, when he assisted his wife buy her dental practice in 2014.