How to stay off your accountant’s naughty list

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Last Updated July 5, 2023


Which list are you on? Naughty or nice?

‘Tis the season when accountants are checking their client lists…and they’re checking them twice.

If you’d like to stay off your accountant’s naughty list, then you’d best heed our advice. From organized forms to paying your taxes on time, use these tips to take your business from naughty to nice!

Ditch the shoebox of receipts

If you show up with a box full of haphazard receipts, you’ll end up on the naughty list. Shoeboxes are for shoes (or for the safe keeping of mementos)—not for your receipts. Make sure all-important documents are organized by type and by date; it also helps to store them in folders (labeled, of course). This will help your accountant provide you with a seamless and quick return come tax time.  

Provide all documentation in a timely manner 

To stay on the nice list, it’s best to prepare all documentation so it’s ready to go when your accountant requests it. In addition to what may be asked of you, be sure to include: 

  • Personal information for yourself, your partner and/or dependents 
  • Income documents, such as W-2s, 1099 forms and other miscellaneous income 
  • Income adjustment forms, like 1098s, IRA contributions or self-employed pension plans 
  • Detailed records of itemized deductions and credits or estimated tax payments 

If you’re not sure of everything you should include, ask your accountant for a list of required documents. And be sure to turn them in on time. 

Set up your tax planning appointment

Stay off your accountant’s naughty list by setting up your tax planning appointment now. Don’t wait until the week before the tax deadline to reach out to your accountant. The earlier you schedule your appointment, the more time you’ll have to clean up your books and project your tax liability for the current year. Your accountant can help you look for ways to: 

  • Reduce taxable income 
  • Delay a tax bill 
  • Increase tax deductions 
  • Take advantage of all tax credits 

If you get prepared for tax season now…you may just find yourself on the nice list this year. 

Listen to (and implement) your accountant’s advice 

Accountants don’t just help around tax time—they’re beneficial to small businesses all throughout the year. They can help you get your new business started at the very beginning stages, and help you get a better picture of your taxes and finances over the next several years.  

Remember that accountants can advise you on the best time for larger purchases or contributing to retirement accounts, among many other options. With their financial expertise, they can help your business thrive—if you apply their advice. If not, you could find yourself on that naughty list. 

Pay firm invoices and taxes on time 

The last thing firms (or your business, for that matter) want to do is chase a client for payment. When your accountant sends you an invoice, be sure to pay on time. If your accountant offers online bill payment options, it’s even easier for you! Not to mention, you’ll save money by not accumulating late fees. 

It should go without saying that paying on time is also very important when it comes to your tax bill. If your return is filed on time, it’s best to also pay your taxes on time to avoid added interest and penalties, which can quickly add up. As your accountant can tell you, it’s not a good thing to owe the IRS. No one wants to be on their naughty list! 

Stay on the nice list 

Tax season is on its way. Help your business (and your accountant) by getting a head start, organizing all of your important tax documents, scheduling your tax planning meeting and heeding their advice. They know if you’ve been naughty or nice…and you’d best believe they’ll check their list twice! 

Happy Holidays! 

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