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Questions You Should Ask Your Accountant

January 8th, 2021 • Blog

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Donna A. Yetter, CPA, CES

Have you ever said to yourself: “I feel like I should be asking my accountant more, but I am not quite sure what to ask?”

As accountants, we are here for you as more than just tax preparers who help you keep the IRS at bay. We are advisors, and as such, we are ready to be your financial partner in helping you set and meet your personal wealth creation, business management, and overall financial goals. To help you get started, we have prepared a list of questions you should review and consider as they may save you money, time, and help you be better protected!

Please call us to make an appointment to discuss any and all of the following:

Personal Wealth

Retirement Savings

  • How much should I be contributing to my retirement account?
  • What retirement vehicle best suits my needs? A Traditional IRA? Roth? SIMPLE? SEP? A 401(k) offered by my employer?
  • Have I asked my financial advisor if my investments are properly allocated according to my risk tolerance?
  • I have changed jobs recently. Should I be considering rolling over my retirement plan?

College Educational Savings

  • Am I adequately saving for my children’s education?
  • Should I be considering a 529 plan? A Coverdell? Trusts?
  • Am I properly filling out the FAFSA (Financial Student Aid) Form?

Insurance – Risk Management

  • Do I have adequate health, disability, and life insurance?
  • If my employer does not provide these types of insurances, where do I go to get them?
  • Do I have adequate homeowner’s insurance?
  • Do I need an umbrella policy?
  • Do I need renter’s insurance?
  • Do I need long-term care insurance?

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid Planning

  • How do I set up a “My Social Security Account” online with the Social Security Administration?
  • When should I start taking Social Security?
  • When so I sign up for Medicare and what option should I select?
  • Have I properly planned for Medicaid?

Estate Planning

  • Do I need a will?
  • When does my will need to be updated?
  • Do I need a living trust?
  • Where should I store my important documents?
  • My bank accounts are held in my own name; should I set them up as Pay-On-Death (POD) accounts?
  • Do my retirement, other investment accounts, and life insurance policies have the intended designated beneficiary?

Business Management Planning

Business Management

  • What business structure is most appropriate for my circumstances?
  • How can I manage my cash flow more effectively?
  • How do I know if the business is generating a profit?
  • How do I determine my break-even point?
  • How can you help me grow my business?
  • Am I pricing my products and services properly?
  • How can I reduce my operating costs?
  • Should I have a Board of Directors?

Accounting and Employee Benefits

  • How would my business function if my bookkeeper left tomorrow?
  • What controls should I have in place to prevent employees from misusing company funds?
  • How long should I be keeping accounting records?
  • How can you help me with healthcare for my employees?
  • Who are considered independent contractors versus employees?

Technology

  • How do I know if I need to upgrade my accounting software?
  • Should I be looking for industry-specific software?
  • Is my back-up system safe and appropriate?

Financing

  • What financial information should I give to lenders?
  • Do I need my financial statements compiled, reviewed, or audited?
  • Should financing terms be linked to the useful life of the asset being financed?
  • Do I need a business plan?
  • How can I tell if borrowing capacity has been reached?
  • How do I record my new loan in my accounting system?

Tax Planning

  • Is my compensation reasonable?
  • Are my withholdings and/or estimated tax payments adequate?
  • Can I claim a deduction for an office in my home?
  • Can I lower taxes if I employ family members (children/spouse)?
  • Should loans to or from family members, or others, be documented?
  • Should I buy equipment before year-end?
  • Should I buy or lease a vehicle?
  • Should I implement a retirement plan before year end (SIMPLE, SEP, 401(k))?

Succession Planning

  • What should my exit strategy be?
  • What is the overall value of my business?
  • Should I have a buy-sell agreement with the other owners?
  • What are the tax consequences of selling my business?

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