On Your Own

Get the latest information and tips on financial planning.

When Should I Hire an Accountant?

By David Smyth

Tax season is about to swing into full gear – did you know the IRS started accepting 2014 tax returns on January 20? – and one question we hear from many of our younger clients is, “when should I hire someone to prepare my taxes?”

When thinking about hiring an accountant or certified public accountant (CPA) to do their taxes, many people think of those H&R Block commercials where money falls out of the sky and into your wallet. You may or may not be in for a large refund, but it is a good idea to establish a relationship with an accountant. No matter how basic your tax return might be right now, building trust with a CPA will benefit you beyond simply helping you put the right number in the right box during tax time.

Are you thinking about buying or leasing a car or new place to live? Consolidating your student loans? Wondering how much in taxes to defer on your paycheck? These are all questions a good accountant can help you work through. In fact, any question that has to do with money can be taken to your accountant or CPA. Many of these questions will be handled by us as we work with your CPA, but one of the first steps in taking control and gaining a solid understanding of your finances is hiring an accountant you trust.

For those of you who just graduated and are working that first new job, remember – even if your parents handled your tax returns in the past, it’s up to you now. Many people wait until close to the filing deadline to start looking for a CPA, but that’s like trying to buy health insurance when you’re already in the hospital. It’s better to meet your accountant during the off-season when you can spend some time getting to know each other. That way, when it is tax time, everyone knows what their roles are and good working boundaries are already established. This is what you want with all of your professional relationships going forward.

We’ve found that the best time to make that first call is from May to November, but if you know you need a tax professional this year, go ahead and ask us for a referral and make the call this month. Everyone is just getting ramped up for tax season and many CPAs are taking new clients.

Do you have a child or grandchild who’s just starting out? Are you tired of doing their taxes? We can give you some names to pass along as well.

Loading Conversation