Your business is growing, your tax return is getting increasingly complicated, or maybe you’re doing business across several state lines. Whatever the reason, you might be wondering if NOW is the time to hire a CPA ( a person who has been certified by their local municipality to perform accounting and tax functions for the general public). But how do you know for sure if you need a CPA? What kind of CPA should you hire? Where would you even find a CPA? To help address these questions, we partnered with the CPAs at FuelCred and this is what they had to say.
How do I Know if I need a CPA?
Fact- Your clients are better off hiring you than trying to maintain their properties themselves because
you have the requisite skillset to get the job done right, on time, and on budget.
Another Fact- finance, tax, and accounting specialists are no different.
That said, for most taxpayers, filing taxes is easy. If you only have a single W-2, then filing is almost automatic when you use TurboTax, H&R Block, or any of the other DIY software platforms.
However, if you’re reading this then your taxes are most likely not that simple. But what does “not that simple” really mean? From our perspective, here are the top 10 reasons (in no particular order) why your taxes may no longer be considered simple and you might want to consult a CPA:
- You currently hire, or plan to hire employees or contractors
- You pay your workers as independent contractors
- You perform services across state lines or sell products in several different states
- You do business overseas
- You offer multiple products or services in your business (e.g. you mowing, sodding, etc.)
- You want to open a retirement account for you or your employees
- You plan on selling all or part of your business
- You want to change your business entity or you want to know which corporate structure is right for you
- You haven’t filed taxes in one or more prior years
- Your revenue (and hence your tax liability) is greater vs. prior years
If any of these describe your business then you may want to consult a CPA sooner rather than later.
What Kind of CPA Should I Use?
Now that you’ve determined that you need a CPA, next you need to determine what type of CPA you should use. Believe it or not, not all CPAs are the same or even offer the same services. In fact some CPAs don’t even prepare tax returns. But choosing the right CPA doesn’t have to be rocket science.
Our best advice is if you’re in a specific trade or industry, find a CPA in your area who handles a lot of clients that are just like you. For landscapers, you want a CPA who knows and understands the tax and accounting needs that are typical in the landscaping industry such as fuel tax credits, landscaping business tax deductions, etc. This will ensure you’re not only staying compliant but are also cashing in on all possible tax credits and deductions available in your industry.
How Do I Find a CPA?
Now that you know you need a CPA and you have a good idea of the type of CPA that you want to consult with, it’s time to select a service provider. Finding the right CPA today is easier than ever with the internet. Now, you can find and rate CPAs in your area by industry with the click of a button. Or, if you like a more personal approach, you can ask other folks who own or operate a landscaping business like yours and see who they use.
Keep in mind this is not a function you want to leave to the lowest cost provider. You should consider choosing a CPA who embraces technology, is writing articles for trade journals and online publications that matter to you, and who is well known in your industry. Your CPA should be more than a tax preparer or bookkeeper, they should be a trusted advisor. They should not only keep you up-to-date on the latest tax issues, but also help you automate your bookkeeping and transform your practice to increase your bottom line.
Thats it, hopefully you're now more prepared to know if a CPA is right for your landscaping business. But if there’s still some doubt, why not go through the process above, select you top three vendors, and ask them your toughest tax and accounting questions. Worst case, you’ll get free tax advice. Best case, you’ll be able to judge from their answers not only if they’re qualified to help you but also if you even need their help this year at all.
Find out about a fuel tax refund your landscaping business qualifies for here.