Author Topic: What to expect from accountant?  (Read 494 times)

Loder

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What to expect from accountant?
« on: August 23, 2018, 10:38:24 AM »
Hello all, lurker of 5 years, first-time poster.

I'm going to be starting a new position as a consultant and will be incorporating so I'm going to need an accountant to help with those pesky corporate taxes. I've never worked with an accountant so I have no idea what services to expect on top of tax prep.

1. Do your accountants work with you not only to prep your taxes, but analyse your personal situation re: FIRE, time off for children, spouse's employment, health insurance, etc to work out your best options? Is it realistic to expect an accountant to offer this kind of in-depth analysis?
2. Do you pay an hourly rate or a lump-sum annual fee?
3. For lump sum I've heard that I should expect to pay $1000-$2000 a year for tax prep + corporate docs (annual meeting minutes, shares, declarations, etc), does that sound right?
4. If lump sum, will your accountant meet with you to discuss questions or changes to your situation without charging extra?

Thank you! Expect many more questions down the road as this process gets going...

mozar

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Re: What to expect from accountant?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 12:03:37 PM »
I think you want 2 different things. One is a tax advisor, the other is a financial advisor. Sometimes you can get someone who does both. I have heard of a website I think it's called called x y advisors. It's hard to find a CFP and a CPA in one person but it's not impossible.

Loder

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Re: What to expect from accountant?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 01:05:15 PM »
Thanks, that seems to be the general response: an accountant will minimize taxes for the year but probably won't get into much long-term planning.  I'm meeting with a couple accountants next week so I'll see how they react when I mention that I don't plan to work forever and that should be a good gauge of how they fit my personality.

FIRE47

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Re: What to expect from accountant?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 02:48:55 PM »
Hello all, lurker of 5 years, first-time poster.

I'm going to be starting a new position as a consultant and will be incorporating so I'm going to need an accountant to help with those pesky corporate taxes. I've never worked with an accountant so I have no idea what services to expect on top of tax prep.

1. Do your accountants work with you not only to prep your taxes, but analyse your personal situation re: FIRE, time off for children, spouse's employment, health insurance, etc to work out your best options? Is it realistic to expect an accountant to offer this kind of in-depth analysis?
2. Do you pay an hourly rate or a lump-sum annual fee?
3. For lump sum I've heard that I should expect to pay $1000-$2000 a year for tax prep + corporate docs (annual meeting minutes, shares, declarations, etc), does that sound right?
4. If lump sum, will your accountant meet with you to discuss questions or changes to your situation without charging extra?

Thank you! Expect many more questions down the road as this process gets going...

Answering as an accountant

1. They can at a basic level although that is not their main area of expertise and you will get charged for their time. I have seen it done, and many of us are far better with money than your average Joe by nature but that is not what you want to pay us for. The best scenario you can hope for is that they can refer you to people they work with that help with this sort of thing and they will work together to meet your needs in coordination with your tax/corporate planning that they are providing. We will also work with whoever you tell us to if you already have someone you use.

2. Accountant is usually hourly for all but the most basic personal tax work or larger projects that go for tender, they can quote you a set fee but don't expect to hold them to it if the hours overrun too much based on anything extra you request or frequent phone calls or due to issues with your books that had to be fixed or any complex issues that weren't mentioned.

3. Not too far off probably expect more like $1.5-3k, maybe toward the lower end with a sole proprietor or mom and pop firm - that would basically just include if your books are immaculate with no adjustments needed, limited tax planning needing to be done just the bare minimum to meet tax/corporate filing requirements and a 10 minute discussion/meeting when you bring in your records and a 10 minute meeting at signing and delivery statge and perhaps a couple 5 minute phone calls throughout.

4. Within reason, you won't get charged if you have a very clearly described question with all of the facts available and need a 2 minute yes or no, but if you take more than 15-20 mins expect it to somehow find its way onto your bill. If you call for an in person meeting expect it to get billed with the exception of the 1-2 meetings surrounding your routine year-end.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 02:55:11 PM by FIRE47 »