Why You Need to Hire an Accountant before Tax Season

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Hiring an Accountant for Tax Season

Whether you be a small business owner or just an individual living out your day to day life, no one likes to deal with the IRS. Most people don’t like dealing with them simply because they are fearful that they may be in violation of one or more of the existing tax rules. Despite whatever trepidation you may have, it’s imperative that you face your issues before they develop into serious problems.

Here are a few reasons why you need to hire an accountant before tax season:

To Help You Avoid Audits

If the IRS decide to audit you, your business should already have undergone a major internal auditing process. Your accountant should be qualified to audit your books throughout the year to ensure you’re practicing good bookkeeping and that you are doing everything you need to do to remain fully compliant.

To Help You Determine Your Filing Status

Not sure how you should file your taxes? Your accountant can help you determine which filing status is best for you and your business. Perhaps you need to file jointly, separately or even as head of household. Your accountant can break down each filing status to help you figure out how you can receive the biggest refund.

To Save You Money

If you know you will owe money to the IRS at the end of the year, have no fear. Your accountant can help you save money from day one by making sure you are having quarterly taxes taken out of your account.

What other reasons do you have for hiring an accountant? Leave your comments below.

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Do I Need an Accountant if I Use QuickBooks?

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Over the last several years, QuickBooks has become increasingly popular. Because of its popularity, many individuals flock to QuickBooks to take care of their business needs without the stress of hiring an accountant. While DIY approach to accounting may seem reasonable, it’s not always a good idea. In fact, QuickBooks should never be used in lieu of an accountant but instead should be used in tandem with one.

Hiring a QuickBooks Specialist

When it comes to QuickBooks, one of the best suggestions is to consider hiring an accountant who specializes in this program. This is great for businesses which have everything already set up in QuickBooks and simply just need someone to manage their preexisting account. It’s also great for businesses which may not be able to afford a full-time accountant.

Diversify Your Approach

Relying solely on QuickBooks can be detrimental to your business simply because anytime you automate your business you run the risk of making more mistakes. If for some reason you don’t feel ready or even feel like you can afford to hire an accountant, consider simply reaching out to an accountant for consulting services to see if perhaps he or she can be of assistance to you at a cheaper cost.

In short, do you need an accountant if you use QuickBooks? It depends on your business, because ultimately you have to do what’s best for you and your particular situation.

Do you use QuickBooks for your business? We’d love to get your feedback. Leave your comments below.

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Can Your Accountant Be Your Auditor?

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Accountants & Auditors

Accounting can be a tricky topic, especially when you’re preparing to hire an accountant in the near future. Hiring can get tricky because those who are certified to be accountants are not necessarily well versed in your particular industry. In fact, your accountant can occasionally offer you expertise in areas outside of accounting; however, keep in mind that sometimes you simply have to learn how to draw the line.

One particularly tricky area is auditing. Many accountants work full-time as auditors but it’s important to note that if someone be working as your accountant, he or she cannot work as your auditor. Why, you may ask? It’s quite simple.

Responsibilities of an Accountant

An accountant’s primary responsibility is to make sure your business is functioning correctly in every area of financing. By contrast, an auditor’s primary responsibility is to make sure your accounting records are kept accurately. Your accountant cannot keep your finances in order and also check for accuracy at the same time. If your accountant were to operate in such a way you can be certain that an accident would occur at some point down the line.

What Course Should You Plot?

What’s the best course of action? Choosing to hire both an auditor and an accountant. Hiring both will ensure that your team has the requisite types of capability and it will also guarantee that when tax season arrives you won’t have any unpleasant surprises should an audit take place.

Have you ever tried to hire your accountant to be your auditor? How well did that work out for you? Probably not very well. Leave your comments below.

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The Many Kinds of Audits

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Tax Audits

Tax audits can impose a great deal of stress in anyone’s life, but in order to avoid them you must first learn more about what a tax audit entails. Believe it or not, tax audits can come in all shapes and sizes, and below is just a brief list of various ways you can be audited by the IRS.

Tax Audits by Mail

Perhaps surprisingly, most tax audits are conducted by mail. Most commonly these audits are referred to as “correspondence audits” and typically occur if the IRS has questions about your return.

In-Office Tax Audits

In rare cases, the IRS may ask you to attend an in-person audit at your local office. In general, in-office tax audits are usually employed when the IRS has additional questions for your business which cannot be answered with traditional paperwork.

Field Audits

Field audits can be a nightmare, especially if they be unexpected. The IRS will come to your home or business just to gain more insight into your tax return. These audits normally occur if the IRS has lots of issues which a phone conversation will not resolve.

Tax Audit Outcomes

Many people sadly make the assumption that all tax audits are designed to ruin your business or your personal life. In most cases, the IRS will either accept your IRS return at face value or they will ask for other supporting documentation. In rare cases, your tax audit could land you in jail or have your assets frozen.

Surviving an In-Person Audit

Surviving an in-person audit can be a difficult task; however, it is possible. Keep all of your receipts and have documentation that backs up everything.

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Five Ways to Avoid a Tax Audit as a Freelancer

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Freelancers & the IRS Audit

As a freelancer, one of the most frightening things you will ever experience is an audit from the IRS. Audits are scary for anyone, but they are especially scary for a freelancer who may not even realize just how much they’ve been holding back from the IRS. Though it’s a scary process, it’s something which can easily be avoided with a bit of elbow grease.

Here are five ways you can avoid a tax audit as a freelancer:

Refusing to Report Income

Missing income can be a huge red flag for the IRS, especially because according to the IRS, they know when you make money even if you don’t report it. No 1099? Getting paid under the table? It doesn’t matter, make sure you’re reporting it as long as it’s over $400.

Reporting Too Many Business Expenses

As a freelancer you have the opportunity to mark lots of things as business expenses; however, make sure whatever you deem to be business related really is just that. The more business expenses you have, the more red flags you’ll put up to the IRS because they’re trained to notice a fluff of business expenses.

Home Office Expenses

A home office expense is something that most freelancers and business owners claim, making it one of the most popular expenses to deduct. Because of this, the IRS is pretty strict on what you can call a home office, and if you’re trying to deduct a portion of your bedroom or kitchen you may as well forget it because the IRS isn’t going to accept that.


If you’re responsible for doing your own taxes as a freelancer you are bound to make lots of mistakes, especially because you’re probably not calculating your numbers correctly. Also, be careful not to round your numbers up too high or down too low. The IRS also pays attention to miscalculations, and if you’re making numbers up it is bound to raise red flags.

Yearly Business Losses

If you are supposedly losing money year after year in your business, the IRS will take note. You won’t be penalized for your losses, but it will make the IRS wonder if in fact you are lying about losses just so you can protect your personal assets.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from the IRS audit is to simply hire an accountant or a CPA to do the work for you. It will save you a lot of time and a lot of money in the long run.

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Why You Should Hire an Accountant after Getting Married

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Marriage & Finances

You’ve said your vows, partied all night, honeymooned for (at least) weeks, and now that the wedding festivities are over, it is time to begin your life together. While discussing finances may be tough, it’s a discussion that is necessary to the success of your marriage. According to current statistics, about 57% of divorces are caused by disagreements or stress over finances; hiring an accountant could eliminate this problem before it ruins your marriage.

Want to avoid the curse of financial divorce? Here are a few reasons why you should hire an accountant after getting married:

To Avoid Divorce

Avoiding divorce is the most obvious reason why most married couples should hire an accountant. The statistics are not in favor of those couples who refuse to discuss financial records and so, as a couple, you and your spouse should both be committed to hiring an accountant even if it’s just as a way to fireproof your marriage.

To Pay Bills

Who should pay the car payment? Who should pay the light bill? These are all questions that everyone asks, especially newlyweds; and instead of allowing these questions to cause disagreements, an accountant can mediate the conversation. Your accountant will be able to determine what makes sense financially, and he or she may even recommend that all bills be split evenly down the middle.

To Discuss Past Credit and Current Debt
At some point, you and your spouse will probably have to make a large purchase together, such as a house. Because of this, it’s important that you discuss your past credit and current debt with an accountant. Doing so will show the both of you what you need to work toward in order to position your family to receive loans in the future.

To Handle Finances

Will you and your spouse keep separate accounts? Will you have a joint account for certain spending practices? Whatever the case may be, your accountant can help you handle your finances in ways you and your spouse may never be able to.

Did you recently get married? What are you waiting for―hire an accountant today!

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Four Questions Small Business Owners Should Ask Their Accountant

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Questions for Your Accountant

An accountant is by far one of the greatest assets your business team can have. They are there not only to help your company with the financial aspects of business, but also to serve as a critical business growth component. In order to get the most out of any accountant that you have on your team, it’s important to know what questions to ask him or her. Here are four questions small business owners should be prepared to ask their accountant:

What’s Important to You?

Before getting too deep into a relationship with your accountant, you want to make sure you are setting clear expectations of what it is you need. Be clear from day one if you want someone to provide financial guidance or if you just need an accountant to help you prepare your taxes once a year. This one question will let you know if your accountant is right for your business or not.

What Technology Do You Use?

DOS is still being used throughout the accounting world; however, it won’t be a tool that can be used forever. Because of this, you will want to make sure that your accountant is open to learning brand new technology systems as they become available. As cloud technology continues to increase in popularity, it would be advantageous if your accountant remains open to learning how to use those systems.

How Do You Stay Current with Industry Trends?

Whether your business pays for it or not, it’s important that your accountant continues to stay educated on industry trends. This could include, but is not limited to, being open to change as well as being open to new ideas as they evolve within the accounting industry.

What’s More Important: Value or Compliance?

Compliance is important, but there’s more to accounting than just compliance. Sure, an accountant needs to have the ability to ensure you remain compliant with all applicable rules, but an accountant can offer so much more value. Value means being able to provide financial advice, tax advice or even budgeting advice. While it’s not mandatory, having an accountant who focuses on value will prove to be more beneficial to you in the long term.

What questions have you vowed to ask your accountant? Leave your comments below.

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How an Accountant Can Benefit Your Small Business

Small business owners are known to have a lot of things on their plate. They are forced to not only manage all aspects of their businesses, but they also have to take care of their homes, their children and a whole host of other things.

Accountant Business Small Benefit

The Benefits Conferred by Accountants

Here are a few ways your accountant can benefit your small business:


In order to accurately keep track of your payroll services, you want to make sure all your finances and books are in order. An accountant can help you make sure all of your accounts are not only accurate but balanced. This could include everything from managing transactions, accounts payable and accounts receivable, collections, inventory and a host of other activities.

Payroll Data Entry

Whether you pay your employees on weekly, daily, or even monthly basis, payroll can be very stressful. Hiring an accountant to manage your payroll data entry could give you some much needed extra time. Best of all, your payroll is probably much easier for someone who is actually trained to handle things such as payroll, which in most cases is probably not you as a small business owner.

Tax Filing

Everyone stresses out during tax season: you’re wondering how you’re going to be able to pay people back, and most of all, you’re forced to figure out if you’re actually making the right choices when filling out your tax forms. Filing taxes can be stressful for a personal taxpayer, but it can be downright maddening for a small business owner. You can make sure you eliminate these stresses by leaving your tax filing status in the hands of your accountant.

What ways does an accountant benefit your small business? Have they helped your business in ways you never expected? Leave your comments below.

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Four Ways You Can Work Together With Your Accountant

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Collaborating with Your Accountant

Believe it or not, being an accountant is not an easy task. In fact, it can easily be one of the most stressful jobs in the professional world. Many times the job of an accountant is stressful simply because no one else in the office can seem to understand what they do on a daily basis. Whether you understand the role of your accountant or not, here are four ways you can work with your accountant to enhance the overall experience in your office:

Have an Open Door Policy

Because being an accountant can be very stressful, so make sure you always have an open door policy. Having an open door policy will give you the opportunity to not only share your goals on a consistent basis with your accountant, but will give your accountant the opportunity to express his or her concerns.

Avoid Last Minute Deadlines

Accountants typically have a large number of deadlines to work with, and adding more deadlines to their plate is not only unhealthy for their work life balance, it’s unhealthy for your business because you don’t want to have an overwhelmed employee.

Be Transparent

Is your business suffering? Will you soon be forced to downsize? Be transparent with your CPA about all financial concerns, the more transparent you are the more they are better fit to assist you with your needs.

Be Grateful

Every employee desires to be appreciated, and if anything, your accountant needs to always know just how grateful you are for their services. Accountants literally go above and beyond to ensure the success of your business and gratitude can really go along way.

What ways have you found that help you better work with your accountant as your business grows? Leave your comments below.

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Four Ways to Get Your Money’s Worth When Hiring a CPA

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Getting Your Money’s Worth

One of the most common reasons many businesses do not hire a CPA is that they believe they cannot afford to hire a CPA. And while in some cases this belief may be accurate, in the long-run hiring a CPA will usually result in an improved financial situation for most businesses. However, in order to receive the greatest benefit from a CPA, there are certain ways along which you have to conduct yourself.

Here are four things which can help you get your money’s worth when you decide to hire a CPA:

Build a Relationship

Once you find a CPA that you like and have built a great relationship with, stick to it. Building relationships is vital to success in any situation involving frequent client to customer interaction. It is especially important once you find a great CPA simply because it’s not always easy to match up with the perfect accountant.

Be Organized

CPAs usually charge by the hour, and so it’s important that you make sure you’re always organized and thoroughly prepared. Being organized and prepared will ensure that you utilize your CPA’s time in the most efficient manner possible.

Be Honest

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.  Don’t ever attempt to undercut your CPA by low balling your financial earnings or even by overestimating them. Be completely honest with how much money you are making and how much you are spending. Being totally honest with your CPA will enable them to help you the most.

Consult Your CPA about All Financial Matters

Don’t ever be afraid to consult with your CPA about your financial matters. Some people often wonder if the questions they have for their CPA are “dumb” questions, but there is no such thing as a dumb question. If you’re worried about your finances, tell your CPA. If you are fearful that you are overspending, tell your CPA. Any situation that involves money should be shared with your CPA up front and candidly.

What ways have you identified that help you get your money’s worth when hiring a CPA? Leave your comments below.

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  • Huddleston Tax CPAs / Huddleston Tax CPAs – Bothell
    Certified Public Accountants Focused on Small Business
    19125 N Creek Parkway #120 / Bothell, WA 98011

    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.