Five Reasons Why Freelancers Should Hire an Accountant

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Freelancers

As a freelancer, you are forced to wear so many different hats in one day: being an employee, an employer, a bookkeeper and so much more, and quite frankly, wearing so many hats can be stressful. Here are five reasons why a freelancer should at least relieve themselves of financial stress and hire an accountant:

To Help You Make Money

Hiring an accountant can easily help you make more money. This is because an accountant can help you determine how much money your family needs to survive or how much money you need to budget each and every month. By doing so, you now have enough information to know exactly how much money you need to charge for your services in order to avoid financial stress.

To Help You Save Money

Just as an accountant can help you make money, he or she can also help you save money. This is because an accountant can see where you spend money the wrong way and can help you put an end to it by showing you how to implement better money saving tactics.

To Eliminate Stress

Financial stress is one of the most common causes of freelancer burn out. If you’re a freelancer looking to eliminate some stress, it may be in your best interest to hire an accountant even if it is just to eliminate the stress of accounting, payroll and bookkeeping.

To Help You Track Your Expenses

Depending on what type of freelancer you are, you may have to worry about payroll, bookkeeping, invoicing and a host of other accounting tasks. In the midst of doing these jobs you also have to continue to do the freelance work you are hired to do. If you are a freelancer who wants to simply stay in your own lane and do the work you have been hired to do.

To Help You Monitor Growth

When you are in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the freelance world, you don’t always have time to monitor your failures or your growth. An accountant can help you not only identify growth but he or she can also help you identify areas of improvement.

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Tips for Finding a Qualified Tax Preparation Professional

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Qualified Tax Preparer

If you have had any level of financial success, you have probably considered hiring a qualified tax preparer. Hiring a qualified tax preparer with good references and solid credentials has become increasingly important over the last several years, in part because of the growing number of people who pose online as tax experts. In fact, approximately 80% of people who have used a tax preparer in the past have admitted that they have never asked their tax preparer for his or her credentials.

Because of this, we have created a list of tips to help you weed out the good from the bad.

Ask Preparer for His or Her Tax ID Number

Believe it or not anyone who prepares taxes for the IRS is required by law to have a Preparer Identification Number, unless you are a volunteer. If you’re paying someone to prepare your taxes asks for their PTIN this not only protects you but it will insure you that the person who’s preparing your taxes has the legal documentation to be doing so.

Work Exclusively with CPAs

While some people may settle for just someone who has a PTIN, you may be one of those people who needs to take it a step further by only hiring a CPA. This designation shows that the person is both qualified and capable of performing essential accounting tasks.

Seek Out Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are a great way for you to identify qualified tax preparers. Examples of such organizations include the National Association of Tax Professionals and the Academy of Attorney CPAs.  The professionals in these organizations are generally not only credentialed but also are required to abide by a certain set of ethics and rules.

Ask Them to Sign on the Dotted Line

This may sound like a weird question to ask, but keep in mind that if you are paying your preparer the law requires that they sign your returns and put down their PTINs. If for some reason your preparer refuses to give you either of those pieces of information, run. They may be looking to only prepare your taxes so that they can steal your refund.

Make Sure You Trust Them

If you hire a tax preparer, you will want to make sure you trust them. Of course, you want to trust them for the obvious reasons; however, you will also want to make sure that you trust this individual to represent you in case you are later audited by the IRS.

What issues have you ran into when hiring a tax preparer? Leave your comments below.

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Four Risky Accounting Mistakes Which Could Harm Your Business

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Risky Accounting Mistakes

Accounting mistakes can play a large role in slowing down the growth of your small business. Unfortunately, mistakes are all too common, especially for start-up businesses. Here are four accounting mistakes which can cause substantial harm to your business:

Keeping Track of Your Receivables

As much as everyone enjoys getting paid, a surprisingly large number of people do a horrible job of keeping track of their receivables. Because of this, many people fail to track how much money they have coming in each year.

Discarding Expense Receipts

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner is discarding your expense receipts. These may not seem important immediately, but you will need these expense receipts when it’s time to file your taxes.

Refusing to Record Cash Transactions

We all love to receive cash as business owners; however, receiving cash transactions can get tricky because cash can be hard to track. This is where an accountant can come in. They have the ability to help businesses record their cash transactions.

Trying to DIY

There are many educational resources available which can teach people how to act as their own accountant; however, trying to do it on your own could be detrimental to your business if you don’t do it correctly. That’s why it’s always important for you to hire a professional if you have any bit of doubt as to your accounting abilities.

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Three Business Stages Your CPA Can Help You Navigate

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Life Stages of a Business

Businesses are not unlike organisms in the sense that businesses go through a number of critical life stages. The first stage – or birth – of every business consists of pinning down the central idea or purpose behind the new company. Every business should be able to answer this question: what is it that we do?

Another parallel businesses share with many organisms is responsiveness to counsel. Like an organism, a business can transition through certain stages of its life more smoothly if it receives assistance from qualified professional. And in many cases, the professional best suited to assist a business is an accountant or CPA. Here are three business stages that your CPA should be able to help you navigate:

The Start-Up Stage

Have you recently launched your business or do you have an idea that you are looking to capitalize upon financially? A CPA can help you in the start-up phase of your business. They can help you as you navigate your accounting process; they can help you determine what types of credits or debts you need to get in order; and most of all they can aid you in your search as you begin to seek out venture funding. Your CPA will be able to answer any questions about your accounting necessities that you still may be unclear on.

The Business Maintenance Stage

Not every business is in the start-up stage or even the growth stage. There are some businesses who are totally content with maintaining what they have. A CPA can also help these types of businesses by helping them with their day to day accounting needs.

The Growth Stage

Is your business experiencing exponential growth and you’re not really sure how to navigate your way through it? A CPA can help you. In fact, a CPA is most often utilized in order to obtain growth, and once the growth comes, a good CPA will make sure you are adequately prepared for it. He or she may do this by helping you get your accounting systems in order or by simply helping you automate your systems.

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How an Accountant Can Help Launch Your Start-Up Company

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Accounting Steps to Complete

The nuts and bolts have been secured, you have done all your paperwork, and now you are ready to officially launch your start-up company. Although it is an exciting time, there are still several accounting steps that you need to implement before you’re fully prepared to launch your start-up correctly. Here are four steps that your accountant can help you complete as you attempt to get your start-up company up and running:

Opening a Bank Account

Once your business has been legally registered, one of the first things you are going to want to do is open up a business bank account. Having a bank account that is separate from your personal expenses will not only make it easier for you to keep your eyes on your money but it will make it much easier for you when tax season arrives.

Tracking Your Expenses

Whether your business has been around for 6 days or 6 months, it’s important that you work with your accountant to track your expenses from day one. This includes tracking those days you go out to lunch with a current or potential business partner, any conferences or professional development workshops you attend and a host of other things. Keeping track of all of these expenses will help you not only see where you’re sending your money but it will again help you during tax season when you’re trying to figure out what can or cannot be written off.

Setting Up a Payroll System

As with any business, whether large or small, it’s important that you establish a payroll system simply because you have no real idea when your business will experience sudden substantial growth that will lead you to have to hire new talent. Setting up a payroll system will give you the ability to distinguish between employees, contractors and freelancers.

Developing a Sales Tax Procedure

Believe it or not, it’s actually easier to sell internationally to customers than it is to sell domestically simply because in many cases you don’t always have to charge sales taxes when selling out of the country. Regardless, you’ll want to make sure you develop a sales tax procedure to help you have more structure when you’re ready to begin selling.

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Five Daily Tasks an Accountant Can Do For Your Business

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Daily Tasks of Accountants

Just like any other person who works inside of your office, accountants tend to have a set number of tasks that they must complete every day. These tasks could include things which are very tedious, or things which are more interesting. Whatever their list of tasks may be, accountants generally have a fixed number of things which they have to get done on a daily basis.

Many accountants often report that many of their friends, families and even colleagues ask what they do all day. In an effort to combat any false ideas about what accountants do all day, here is a list of five accounting tasks which an accountant can do for your business on a daily basis:

Accounts Payable

Being able to keep track of the money your company owes can be challenging, and if you’re not versed in accounts payable your accountant can do this for you and practically do it on auto pilot.

Accounts Receivable

Having up to date accounts receivable will greatly help you monitor your cash flow. Keeping a handle on the money that’s coming in (and out) can be really stressful, and so to eliminate that stress your accountant can make sure all the money that you are owed not only comes in on time but that you don’t have to play the role of constantly chasing money your clients owe you.

Payroll

Tired of having to worry about how to pay your employees and when to pay them to ensure they get their money on time? Hire an accountant. Payroll is essential to your company, especially if you have employees, and everyone knows that happy employees also mean a happy company. Get your payroll in order and hire an accountant.

Inventory

Do you know what items you have in your office? Do you know how much money you spend on these items? When they’ve been outdated and when they no longer have value? That’s where an accountant comes in. They step in and make sure that you are actively managing questions and reports about the goods your company has on hand.

Cash Management

Do you have a cash flow management process for your business? Cash management is a critical financial responsibility for your business, and it should never be taken lightly. Hiring an accountant can be life saving to your cash management and flow.

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What Role Do Accountants Play in a Company?

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The Role of an Accountant

Many businesses owners realize that hiring an accountant will add value to their business. They understand that accountants bring a valuable skill set to a company and have the potential to keep a company in good financial condition. However, not every business owner understands this; many employers have no sense of what value an accountant can add or even what role an accountant plays in a company.

The primary responsibility of an accountant is to help the company prepare its financial records. He or she is also responsible for ensuring that all records are not only accurate but also that taxes are paid on time. While this could be viewed as a wide scope of what accountants do, their jobs can actually include so much more than what meets the eye.

Here are just a few other roles (according to allbusinessschools.com) which an accountant can play within your company:

  • Examine statements to ensure accuracy
  • Ensure that statements and records comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and guarantee prompt payment
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems to keep up to date
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Improve businesses efficiency where money is concerned
  • Make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues and improve profits
  • Provide auditing services for businesses and individuals

What role does your accountant play in your business? We want to hear all about it. Leave your comments below and let us know what we’ve missed.

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Three Reasons Why Your Start Up Needs to Hire an Accountant

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Why Your Start-Up Needs an Accountant

Start-up companies are beginning to revolutionize how we view the work world. Every day, thousands of new ideas are being brought about by start-up companies, and many of these ideas will undoubtedly transform how we live our lives. But even though plenty of start-ups manage to get set up, a high percentage of these start-ups quickly fold due to lack of funding or horrible financial management.

Most start-up founders create their companies simply because they have a great idea, but sadly many founders lack the skills necessary to be able to adequately run a business. In turn, this leads many businesses to amass debt and financial distress before they even have the opportunity to get their companies off of the ground.

If you’re a start-up in the making, or a company which has been in business for several years, you should be aware that there are resources available which can help you manage your company. Before hiring anyone else, you should take the steps necessary to hire a capable and qualified accountant. Why is this? Because a good accountant can help you succeed in some of the most vital areas of your business. Don’t believe us? Here are three reasons why your start-up needs to hire an accountant.

To Help Your Business Make Money

Most people refuse to hire an accountant simply because they feel like they don’t have enough money to spend on such an expensive employee; however, as the old saying goes: it takes money to make money. If you don’t hire an accountant in your early days (especially if you don’t have good financial management) it could cost you much more money in the long run.  Hiring an accountant can actually be one of the best investments you’ll ever make simply because they can help you see first-hand how you spend money, how you save money and how you manage the little (or a lot) that you have.

To Help You Hire More Employees

Hiring new employees is an exciting time for all new start-ups. In many cases, hiring new employees signifies that your company is growing, and growth is literally something that most founders and co-founders dream of night and day. If you’re ready to hire new employees, believe it or not, an accountant can help. An accountant will be able to look at your financial records and not only let you know when you have the money to hire more employees but they can also help you determine how much money you can spend on your new employees’ salaries.

To Help You Alleviate Stress

One of the top concerns many founders have is stress. This stress often comes because founders feel obligated to manage ten million hats at one time.  Hiring an accountant will help you remove one of the most pivotal stresses: finances. Again, if you’re not equipped to handle your finances, why stress yourself out over it?

Are you a start up founder who struggles with why you should hire an accountant? We want to hear about it. Leave your comments below.

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Three Mistakes Businesses Can Easily Avoid When They Hire a CPA

Hiring a CPA can be an overwhelming process; so overwhelming, in fact, that many businesses are in such a rush to hire a CPA they end up making mistakes which could have been avoided if they had slowed the process down a bit. Here are three mistakes businesses often make when they hire a CPA:

Two business men shaking hands at international business meeting.

Hiring a New CPA

Hiring Too Soon in the Interview Process

We all know the interview process can be extremely grueling, and sometimes it can even feel like a nightmare. While the process can be long and drawn out, when it comes to hiring a CPA some businesses actually end up moving entirely too fast out of desperation. Hiring too soon in the interview process could lead you to hiring the wrong CPA to do the job, and hiring the wrong CPA could be just as bad as not hiring one at all.

Not Knowing What You Need

We have all been there, knowing we desperately need to hire a CPA but not knowing where to begin. For starters, if you know you need to hire a CPA, figure out what you need from them and begin to get things in order for them to easily navigate throughout your documentation once you hire the accountant that works for you.

Focusing on Experiences Which Don’t Matter

Some businesses spend so much time asking questions about experience that a CPA has had in the past that they miss the most important questions: what can you do for me? And, how can I help you? These questions may actually help you hire the best accountant. This approach is usually better than simply focusing on past experiences that serve no purpose within your business.

What mistakes have you made in the past when hiring a CPA? Leave your comments below.

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How Your Business Can Alleviate the Disadvantages Facing CPAs

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Disadvantages Facing CPAs

If you’re interested in hiring a CPA, it’s important that you know what disadvantages they are faced with on a day to day basis. Knowing what disadvantages they are faced with not only helps you begin to view them from a different lens, it also helps you learn how you can better support them as members of your staff. Here are just a few disadvantages of being a CPA:

Increased Stress

While most CPAs thoroughly enjoy their jobs, that does not necessarily mean they don’t deal with a certain level of stress. Many CPAs are often put in positions where they have to work financial miracles, and while they do get plenty of things accomplished, usually their duties carry considerable levels of stress.

Overworked and Underpaid

Many CPAs will be transparent with you and let you know that they often feel as if they are overworked and underpaid. Depending on the size of your business, if you’re unable to increase their wages, make a conscious effort to ensure you provide as much support as you can for them so that they don’t feel overworked and underappreciated.

People Assume They Can Fix All Financial Problems

Again, CPAs are equipped to handle your accounting and finance needs; however, sometimes CPAs are looked at as gods who can work miracles, and that’s not necessarily the case. The best thing you can do before hiring a CPA is make sure that your books are somewhat in order so that your CPA isn’t walking into an accounting nightmare.

What disadvantages does your CPA often complain about? Leave them in the comments below.

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  • Huddleston Tax CPAs / Huddleston Tax CPAs – Burien
    Certified Public Accountants Focused on Small Business
    14900 Interurban Avenue S, Suite 271 / Tukwila, WA 98168
    206-229-7169

    Huddleston Tax CPAs & accountants provide tax preparation, tax planning, business coaching,
    QuickBooks consulting, bookkeeping, payroll, offer in compromise debt relief, and business valuation services for small business.

    We serve: Tukwila, SeaTac, Renton. We have a few meeting locations. Call to meet John C. Huddleston, J.D., LL.M., CPA, Lance Hulbert, CPA, Grace Lee-Choi, CPA, Jennifer Zhou, CPA, or Jessica Chisholm, CPA. Member WSCPA.