It’s tax time again and most finance teams are hurrying to create financial statements, sign off on audited financial statements, prepare budgets for the new year and generate corporate taxes. But especially for mid-sized companies with smaller teams, the complexities of IRS forms and due dates for tax season can be overwhelming. Accounting leadership may run a skeleton staff and often end up doing much of the grunt tax work themselves.
While there’s no substitute for starting early, there’s still plenty of time for small business CFOs to get back on top of their game – by getting a little bit of outside help. Accounting software should produce financial statements that are up-to-date and accurate, but adding an outside specialist to the team can also be helpful to make sure all deadlines are met.
Small businesses looking for a tax accountant to help get them through the next few stressful weeks and months should consider the following:
- Your Business
When it comes to taxes, one size does not fit all. Depending the type of small or mid-sized business, there are different forms, implications for personal filings, and different deadlines. Small business owners and their finance teams should know the basics that apply to them in order to accurately assess outside assistance.
A CPA is a certified public accountant licensed by each state. To earn a CPA license, a person needs to pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam and meet certain licensing requirements. Some of those requirements include college credits in accounting, passing an ethics exam and two years of general accounting experience supervised by a CPA with an active license.
Check on what other services the person or firm offers. Larger firms will provide more services than a smaller firm but a small tax firm may have more focused expertise. Some of the services a tax accountant may provide include tax planning and tax dispute and litigation, others are also lawyers that can represent a company in judicial matters. So even if you’re not looking for help with anything but taxes right now, it’s always good to have a look at the full roster of services to see how deep the bench is.
Tax Accountants will have differing levels of experience depending on their length of service and rank in the organizations. Organizations will typically work with a tax partner but the actual tax preparation work will fall upon more junior associates. The partner will sign off on the tax return and should review the returns with the company.
As your company grows, the size of the tax accounting firm matters. For instance, a larger firm may have international tax matters that requires an overseas presence. The tax professional may also need to handle the tax returns of the corporate executives.