My approach to taxes, financial planning, accounting, bookkeeping, etc. can best be summarized as: Keep it simple. Complexity in your financial affairs isn’t worth it, especially once you take into account the increased stress of not knowing what the heck is going on.
(Ok, maybe it’s worth it in some cases, but if you happen to fall into that category, you’re probably already working with another accountant.)
Here are some general guidelines I try to follow, in the interest of keeping it simple.
- Follow the rules. I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to be“aggressive” to get you a big tax refund, only to create problems for you down the road. If you’re interested in that kind of tax preparer, I’m not your guy. (I’m not saying it’s a bad strategy, it’s just not my strategy.)
- Use plain language. I’m not going to tell you “Well, to do that, you’d need to file a Form 2553 retroactive to Jan 1” without explaining to you what a Form 2553 is.
- Don’t be overly formal. Yes, you can contact me via text message.
- Say “no” if necessary. If you contact me asking for help with a situation or set of rules that I’m not very familiar with, such that I’m afraid I’ll end up in a position where I may not know what I don’t know, then I’ll let you know that I’m not the right person for the job.
- Leave myself plenty of time away from accounting and taxes. I’ve found that having lots of time to not think about accounting really improves my relationship with my clients. (And with my profession!) It helps keep my head clear, and hopefully makes me a much more pleasant guy to work with. For the sake of maintaining my own livelihood, I need to suspend this rule during tax season, but for the rest of the year I try to stick to it.