Solopreneur? Here’s How to Find a Tax Preparer

July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011

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If you run your business as a sole proprietorship, you may have noticed something fishy around tax season: it can be downright difficult to find a seasoned tax preparer who is willing to take on solopreneurs as clients.  Why?  Most schools are great at teaching the ins and outs of corporate taxes, but when it comes […]

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If you run your business as a sole proprietorship, you may have noticed something fishy around tax season: it can be downright difficult to find a seasoned tax preparer who is willing to take on solopreneurs as clients.  Why?  Most schools are great at teaching the ins and outs of corporate taxes, but when it comes to solo business owners, many simply aren’t up to speed—and don’t want to take the trouble to get that way.

However, it’s vital to have a tax preparer that you can trust.  So what can a soloprenuer do to ensure that he snags the best tax preparer he can find?  Charm ‘em, that’s how.  Here are three ways to do it.

Keep Your Records Straight

Many accountants have nightmarish visions of sole proprietors bringing in a shoebox filled with a year’s worth of receipts two days before tax time.  And those dreams are sometimes based on reality.  Many small business owners tend to their finances last—either because they’re just so busy attending to the other things that have to get done, or because they would simply rather not truly understand their financial situation.  But if you’re going to land a qualified accountant, you’ll have to present him with an organized system that outlines your income and expenditures.  Make use of one of the many software programs, like QuickBooks and Excel, that only require you to fill in the blanks—a credible accountant will be much more likely to take you seriously as a potential client.

Know Your Stuff

A busy accountant won’t mind answering questions about your business and its direction, but they won’t want to be responsible for your complete financial education.  You should have a basic knowledge of why your business is structured the way it is, and about what financial direction you want to take it in.  Your accountant should give you advice, based on your numbers, but you should be able to have an intelligent two-way conversation with him about your company’s financial picture.  If you can’t, do some research and get down the basics before looking for that perfect accountant.

Declare Your Intentions

Just like any business owner, an accountant is looking to develop long-term relationships with other businesses.  If they believe that you’re a one-time client just looking for help at tax time, they’ll be less likely to stay up to speed on the issues that will affect your business.  Instead, look for an accountant who can develop a relationship with, and then make your intentions clear.

Finally, before you approach an accountant, you should vet them and make sure they know their stuff.  Do this by contacting the National Association of Tax Professionals and look for an expert in your area.  Then all you have to do is put on the charm.

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