Tom Nie wrote:
<<And just because he's an "accountant" doesn't mean he knows what's
your money - unfortunately. Learn finances. You'll be surprised how
times you'll catch "errors". CPA is no guarrantee either.>>
Amen, amen, amen. My small business was too much of a bother for an
accountant I had many years ago, and due to his careless handling of my
bookeeping and taxes I wound up paying more than I should have. A
later accountant filed amended returns and we got some of it back, but
then I had to pay her to file the amended returns, also.
Some accountants like small businesses, some don't, and some don't care
what they work on. But every type of businesses have different nuances
that a good tax preparer can explore. If you are doing a simple cash
in/cash out arrangement, then you can keep you books easily, and then
find out from your fellow craftsmen whom they use and like for tax
preparation. Chances are that person will be experienced in the field
you are working in or at least a related field.
I love Quicken, and with the help of my preparer have it set up just
the way she wants it. It saves me money (her time) and effort on
taxes, reports, etc. I wouldn't worry about getting anything too much
more sophisticated until you start tracking employees, accrued
depreciation on many different tools, etc. But you do need a good
system, one that can be readily understood by those that need to look
at it. If you don't have good books, then you will be totally screwed
at one time or another for many differnet reasons, not the least being
In point to Tom's statement above, you should take any classes you can
get to make yourself more savvy and informed on your company's tax
burden and position. You should NEVER rely completely on someone else
to always do the right thing concerning your business affairs. It is
your company, your responsibility, and your baby. No one will care
about it as much as you do. And no one is as responsible for it as you
When the guys that work for me decide to take the plunge and start
their own business, I always tell them how soon they will be longing
for the days of being out on the job all day with the biggest problem
being if they have the right nails or materials, or if their is a BBQ
joint near the job site.
They never believe me when I tell them that invoicing, collections,
bookeeping, quarterly reports, year end reports and taxes take almost
as much of your time as doing the work. How soon they learn.
But on the other hand, if this is schedule C income only and you are
making a few pieces a year, I don't think you should worry too much.
One of my buddies that mows lawns does all his stuff on Quiken, and
inputs it to Turbo Tax and he is finished.
He went to the Small Business Administration's free advice council for
small businesses and found a wonderful retired CPA that go him on the