Last year around this time I ran into my friend Reg at the bank. He was waiting to sit down with someone and he looked stressed. It turned out he was there to get a statement for the entire previous year.
“I do this to myself every year,” he said. “Tax time rolls around and I’m suddenly scrambling to figure out how much I made and how much I spent. It basically turns into a week of all-nighters while I try to go through the whole year line by line.”
I asked Reg whether he used an accountant and he said he preferred to save his money and do taxes on his own. I gave him the number of the accountant I’d been using for years and suggested he give him a call. It might cost him a few bucks, but it could really save some stress.
A few days ago Reg emailed me to say that he’d called my accountant and that this year things were not only completely sorted and ready to go, but that he ended up paying less in taxes because someone who really knew what they were doing was helping him.
Being an independent business person means that you and you alone are responsible for your finances. You are responsible for tracking income and expenses, for paying quarterly taxes, and for having all of your income-related information available at tax time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t call on an expert if you’re willing to pay for the peace of mind.
The decision to hire an accountant means that you share the responsibility of tracking income with someone who knows their way around finances and tax code and can truly make a big difference in your financial picture. Not only do you free yourself from the stress of navigating your own tax return, but hiring an accountant can also add up to big savings despite the higher price tag.
If you’re unsure whether an accountant is the way to go, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I put off taxes every year and do them at the last minute because I am trying to avoid the inevitable stress of it all?
- Do I feel frustrated with my own ability (or lack thereof) to keep track of my yearly income?
- Am I comfortable sharing my financial picture with someone trained to help me make the most of things when tax time rolls around?
If you answered yes to one or all of these, it might be a good idea to consider hiring an accountant. And if you still have lots of questions about your taxes and your financial picture as a whole, Praxis Center offers a course designed to help you navigate these waters. No one can be an expert in all things. Focus on what you do best and learn strategies to manage the rest.