Here we are! Only two weeks away from the official start of filing season. As we here at Powerful Accounting are getting ready for the marathon, we have been considering the top five topics to discuss with our clients while we have their attention. I wanted to share them with you.
Topic #1 – TECHNOLOGY: Recommend that the business start to utilize a few simple technologies that will support their tax returns for 2019 if they don’t have a system already. The three I would recommend to properly back up a tax deduction and minimize the risk of failure during an audit are:
- Receipt Bank – This is a very easy one. Everyone who is in business has expenses and asset purchases. Not having a copy of the receipts to justify the business purpose is a big deal in an audit. As a preparer, you should care about what information YOUR client must back up in the return you are preparing. It is an affordable and simple solution for your client. Clicking that link in the name will give you a 10% discount for you and your clients.
- MileIQ – Regardless if your clients are claiming mileage deduction or actual deduction for their business vehicles, they still must keep a mileage log to justify the percentage of business use. The same old “my mileage is about the same as last year” just isn’t going to work anymore. We are not going to accept anything in 2020 except documented mileage for an answer. I will not put my license at risk because a client is too cheap to pay $5.95 a month to keep track of this significant deduction.
- TSheets by QuickBooks – Ignore the billing conversation and think about your business owners and their knowledge around what they are doing in their business and on their business. I know from experience that when I started using TSheets and tracking my time, I found out that I was spending 60% of my time doing administrative tasks. For someone who works 2,600 hours per year at a rate of, let’s say, $200 per hour (that’s low but we can be conservative here), it results in $312,000 of income I was NOT generating! That is how I knew it was time to hire an Executive Assistant, saving me 30% of the 60% resulting in my ability to generate $156,000 more and to pay the EA, let’s just say a lot of that extra billing is helping me pay for my two kid’s college! TSheets is a DECISION MAKING SOLUTION, not a just time tracking software.
Topic #2 – GOALS: Discuss their business goals for 2019. Ask them how you can help them achieve those goals. When listening, write down their goals so you have them to look at yourself so that when you are communicating with them throughout the year, you can bring up the goals in your conversation. This will help you with supporting them, encouraging them, and even possibly keeping them accountable to their goals. I believe that as a trusted advisor we have so much to offer but many times the client doesn’t realize how we can help them. One reason for that is we really don’t know them as well as we think. For some of our clients, we know exactly what their goals are and what they want to achieve; but there are many we have no idea what their end goals are. I say, this tax season become more aware, more present, and more supportive of your business clients.
Topic #3 – Detect & Defend: It is rare that we talk about business identity. But this year, I am going to be discussing this with our business clients. There is a new product from Intuit called QuickBooks Detect & Defend. If you already have an Intuit account, you can sign in with that login when you go to the sign-in screen. The sole purpose for this solution is to monitor your business credit score and business credit report, as well as monitor activity on the dark web. I don’t know about you, but I had never checked my business credit score. But once I learned of this awesome product offered by Intuit for $9.99 a month, I signed up immediately. Detect and Defend will also alert you if there are any changes to your credit score or if there are issues within the dark web. They also have a team of U.S. based specialists who will help you in the event of a breach. They do not represent your business as attorneys and it is not considered insurance, but rather a solution that has your back in the event of an identity breach.
In conclusion, take the opportunity this tax season to be even more present and purposeful with your business tax clients. Whether you see them in person or work on their return remotely, I challenge you (along with myself) to have a conversation with each business owner and rejuvenate the relationship you agreed to have with them. Most of all, best wishes for the upcoming season, it will be a doozy!
Author Bio: Dawn W. Brolin is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC, a nationally recognized accounting, tax, forensic and fraud, IRS Representation as well as a QuickBooks consulting firm. Dawn’s list of professional accomplishments is extensive and includes speaking and consulting for prestigious companies. Named “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting” 2012-2017 by CPA Practice Advisor, a “Top 10 Managing Partner Elite – Great Accounting Firm Leader” in 2017 by Accounting Today, and selected as a “Top 40 Under 40” by CPA Technology Magazine.