What kinds of clients do you work with?

You want to make sure your accountant understands your type of business. A restaurant will have certain rules to follow for wages and tips, for instance, just as a construction business must deal with issues related to contract workers and a real estate development firm will have certain criteria about how income is reported. You need an accountant who has worked with other businesses like yours and knows the ins and outs of the industry.

What type of business entity should my business be?

If you are confused if your business should be a Sole Proprietor (Schedule C), Limited Liability Company (LLC), S Corporation, C Corporation or a Partnership just let us know. Neff Accounting will help guide you in the right direction.

Are you available year round?

Some accounting firms shut their doors after April 15 and only reopen for the following tax season. But when you’re running a small business, you’re going to need help all year. Neff Accounting keeps regular business hours after tax season for those individuals or small businesses that may have some questions.

Who will be doing the work?

Accountants will often outsource work to a third party. This does not happen at Neff Accounting. We have well trained staff in place to handle any and all types of tax and accounting question

Are you a conservative or more aggressive accountant?

Some accountants want to write off everything they possibly can, while others take a more conservative approach. It’s important to figure out where you fall on the spectrum and find an accountant who agrees with your philosophy.

How do you bill for your services?

Some accountants charge by the hour; others bill a flat rate. If you want to take a more hands-on approach to your bookkeeping, an hourly rate might be better because you won’t have as much continuous work for an accountant. Neff Accounting has several different bills procedures. We will determine what works best for the customer. Provide a copy of your previous year’s tax returns so the accountant can familiarize himself with your business before giving a quote.

What can you tell me about the medical expense reimbursement plan?

This question may seem technical, but not all accountants will know about this plan, which allows you to deduct your family’s medical expenses on your return.

What tax program do you use?

You shouldn’t choose accountants based on the tax program they use. Here at Neff Accounting we use a professional accounting program that can handle any type of business. Our tax software is kept up to date through continuing updates throughout the tax year.

What’s the best way to contact you and how often should we be in touch?

This might seem like too simple a question, but clear, effective and frequent communication is the key to a healthy, beneficial relationship with your accountant. Establish early on how often you’ll connect, either in person, on the phone or online (via a video chat app like Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime). Decide together if you’ll meet weekly, monthly or bimonthly.

How can you help me prepare for (and survive) tax season?

Untangling the time-sucking tedium of tax prep is often the number-one reason small businesses hire an accountant in the first place. You’ll want to ask yours which tax credits and deductions you should claim. Also ask him or her if there are any new tax laws you should take advantage of to maximize write-offs.

What are some considerations I should consult with you about on an ongoing basis?

Neff Accounting will get to know you and your business well enough to regularly keep you aware of — and swiftly and appropriately reacting to — an array of factors that could effect your bottom line, for better or for worse.

We will also be open to assisting you in weighing the financial ramifications of certain decisions, like whether or not to hire an independent contractor or a full-time employee, buy or rent an office space, or rent or lease a company car and much more.

How can you help me grow my business?

Neff Accounting can help small-business owners expand over time, that is if have the right groundwork in place with you.

To grow, you must start with a financial model that is “honest and built on a granular basis from the ground up.” Remember to update your plan on a monthly basis (or ask your accountant to) with actual results. Doing so can help you hone in on opportunities for growth in your market.

How can you help me clamp down on my cash flow?

Properly projecting your business’s cash flow is as essential as creating an effective mission statement and living up to it. Tedious, detailed flow projections aren’t easy to wrangle, but that’s what you have an accountant for.

Neff Accounting will be able to help you develop an organized, effective cash flow model that allows you to adjust your operations in ways that help you survive shortfalls, as well as improve receivables and manage payables.

What is my break-even point?

Neff Accounting will be able to analyze a number of metrics to calculate whether your business is making a profit or a loss. Knowing your break-even point is crucial to determining your business’s pricing structure and profitability. Once Neff Accounting identifies yours, you should have a strong estimate of how many products or hours of service you have to sell to cover your costs.

Can you assess the overall value of my business?

Neff Accounting will be up to the task of estimating your company’s fair market value in excess of your tangible assets. He or she should start by examining your financial plan and then execute a discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, a common but effective valuation method.

Another way Neff Accounting can help nail down your business’s value is by deeply understanding what you do and the industry in which you operate.

Can you help me review and negotiate business contracts before I sign them? 

This is a common question for accountants, one that’s probably better to ask your attorney.

At Neff Accounting we will work collaboratively with your attorney to add color and tax and commercial issues about which the attorney may not be experienced.”

What are some special considerations for my particular industry?

Businesses in different industries come with their own unique accounting issues. Neff Accounting will be knowledgeable about the various ones that specifically apply to yours.

For instance, if you own a startup that builds wearable tech, we will be well-versed at identifying tax opportunities specific to the emerging technology industry, like potential R&D, facilities and training tax credits, as well as applicable manufacturing and sales tax exemptions, etc.

What are some common mistakes that I should avoid when working with you?

Not being 100 percent honest with Neff Accounting, as your accountant, is the worst mistake you could make. “The truth will come out, either in the planning stage or in front of the IRS auditor.”