Bookeepers & CPAs: the peanut butter & jelly of accounting!
February 11, 2019
Tax season is upon us, and I am swamped. If it weren’t for my team bringing me sandwiches and coffee throughout the day, I’d probably wither away in my little office, buried in 1099s.
If you didn’t get that joke, I’m sorry. Moving on.
You might be a bit surprised that I’m so busy. Afterall, bookkeepers like me don’t generally file taxes, or traditionally have a big part to play during the season. The fact is, bookkeepers are central to the tax filing process, for businesses and individuals.
The fact is, bookkeepers are central to the tax filing process, for businesses and individuals.
Let’s face it, most of our entire industry is up a certain creek without a paddle this time of year. For CPAs especially, this is probably the busiest they’ll be all year. With a bookkeeper at their side, the process is much easier, faster, and less stressful.
Here’s why you need both a CPA and a bookkeeper this tax season.
1. The “Do it Yourself”-ers
I love a good DIY project. It saves money, and you learn to do something new.
But, some things you just shouldn’t do yourself.
You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard someone filing their taxes say, “oh, my accountant needs this number and I don’t have it.” Or, if they do have the numbers but the books aren’t clean, their CPA could categorize something in the wrong way, and mess everything up. If this happens, you might be asked to amend your tax return which, I’m pretty sure, is one of the levels of hell.
Having someone focused solely on making sure the data of your tax return is correct is highly valuable.
With a good bookkeeper, all of these problems are solved. If you’re not sure what numbers or forms your CPA is asking for or needs, your bookkeeper definitely should.
Having someone focused solely on making sure the data of your tax return is correct is highly valuable. Save yourself the time and stress of redoing your taxes and sifting through old receipts. You don’t need that in your life.
2. Four eyes are better than two
I’m not saying that’s a great line, but you know what I mean.
Make this a collaborative process. Your bookkeeper and CPA don’t have to work in separate worlds. And neither should be someone you only call once a year! Have a conversation, and connect them. If something looks wrong on either side of the process, whether it’s in the gathering of information or the actual filing, you don’t want anything to be lost in translation. If you’re not confident being in the middle of this conversation, let the pro’s hash it out.
Your bookkeeper and CPA don’t have to work in separate worlds. And neither should be someone you only call once a year!
But, ultimately, they’re your taxes and your numbers. So, feel free to be as involved as you want.
It’s simple: would you rather have your taxes and numbers looked over once, or twice? I admit, it does take longer to have multiple people check things over than to just do it yourself and send it off. But, you’ll feel confident that your books are organized, your taxes were correctly filed, and that you won’t have to do this all over again.
This is similar to the kinda weird four-eyes thing I said earlier, but trust me, it makes sense.
There’s a couple of layers to this, but basically having copies of your information just in case is always good. Catastrophe can strike at any time. Files can be lost, information can be wrong, it happens all the time. But, if you have no frame of reference or way to fact-check your numbers, you’ll have a hard time filing any taxes this year.
This is something bookkeepers are great at. While your accountant is great for gathering data and entering it where it needs to go, your bookkeeper should have the source of that data in the form of receipts, invoices, and other financial documents. With a bookkeeper, you’re not digging up old TGIFridays receipts from your last work trip out of your suitcase.
On top of that, you can oftentimes attach these documents to bills and receipts created in your favorite accounting software, like Quickbooks. If that’s your thing. (It’s my thing).
4. You really, really need a CPA
No, seriously. I know I talk a big game for bookkeepers, and for good reason. We’re awesome, and we do a lot of great work. But, sometimes you have to admit your own shortcomings.
I am never going to file your taxes for you. I don’t know the legal aspects, what sections to add, where to add them, or what exactly I need to do the job properly. Basically, I’m not a trained CPA. It’s just not my job.
Bookkeepers and CPAs are totally different things. We do different jobs, have different strengths, and different weaknesses
While we bookkeepers can accumulate all the things you’ll need to get your taxes done, a CPA needs to actually file them.
Bookkeepers and CPAs are totally different things. We do different jobs, have different strengths, and different weaknesses. If you want your tax season to be as stress-free and foolproof as possible, it’s best to cover all your bases.
Honestly, tax season will never be stress free. But, a woman can dream, right?