What Does Your CPA Do When it’s NOT Tax Season?
For many folks, the only time they see their certified public accountant is during the weeks leading up to April 15th–also known as Tax Day. But what exactly do they get up to after that?
Much like we used to assume our school teachers lived in their classrooms and evaporated into thin air once summer started, many people think CPAs exist solely to file tax returns. We’re here to tell you that is not the case; there are many accounting services that CPAs offer year-round! So let’s set the record straight. During the off-season:
We Work With Clients
Your financial needs don’t take a backseat in the off-season, so having a good CPA in your corner 12 months of the year is a good idea. After all, these tax advisors offer more than just tax preparation services. CPAs also handle:
- Client consulting. As we said before, your finances don’t care what time of year it is. Year round, CPAs offer accounting services that assist clients with everything from financial planning to starting their own businesses. We can also advise individual clients on personal finance topics such as retirement planning. For established businesses, CPAs offer business accounting services: we crunch the numbers so you can focus on your customers.
- IRS audits and requests for information. Nobody wants to be audited–or even receive a letter from the IRS–but it happens. When it does, you want someone who knows tax law to handle communications with the IRS. This is also true for receiving letters from any state’s Department of Revenue. CPAs can locate missing information, correct errors, and catch inconsistencies that could easily be missed if you tried to handle communications on your own. We’ll make sure you don’t end up paying more than you need to.
- Extended tax returns. For CPAs, tax season is never really over. Many individual clients and business owners file extensions for taxes, for a variety of reasons. An extension allows for more time to organize your financial information. It also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of any retroactive changes to the tax law that may have gone into effect after Tax Day. So, yes, your CPA is still sorting out returns long after April 15th.
We Build Our Businesses
With the high-stress and long hours in the rearview, CPAs can zoom out and focus on improving their business model and strategies. We turn our attention to:
- Networking. When we’re not advising our current clients, we’re taking the time to build our client base and get our brand name out there. Networking also helps us stay current in our industry–by talking to other professionals in our field, we learn the latest news, trends, and best practices.
- Business development. This is the time in which we invest in things like advertising and marketing for our businesses. It’s also not uncommon for CPAs to work on restructuring their workflow and processes. The goal is always to be more efficient when the next tax season rolls around. We also develop the scope of our business by investing in training and skill-building during this time.
- Continuing education. In order to keep our licenses, CPAs must have 120 hours of training every three years, including eight hours of ethics courses. CPAs often try to make the most out of the off-season by meeting these hours. We also take time to study for advanced certifications, such as Personal Finance Specialist(PFS), Accredited in Business Valuation(ABV), or Chartered Global Management Accountant(CGMA). Earning these certifications not only deepens our knowledge, but allows us to help our clients in more ways than ever. With each certification, your CPA expands the scope of the accounting services they can offer.
We Take Care of Family–and Ourselves!
Last, but certainly not least, certified public accountants get some much needed R&R during the off-season. When our loved ones see us emerge from the office, we can finally:
- Focus on our families. We can get involved in our kids’ activities again, cheering them on at games or watching dance performances. We can spend more time with our immediate families, host dinners, and give them the quality time they deserve.
- Get back to a normal routine. In the off-season, we can once again join the living! Eating meals with our families, grocery shopping, spring cleaning, gardening, home-improvement–all the things we had to put off during tax season are now the priority.
- Make healthy choices. In the weeks leading up to mid-April, you’ll find most tax advisors hunched over in front of a computer screen and ordering take-out. So, during the off-season, we take advantage of the opportunity to cook at home and get some exercise! (At Wood CPA, we personally enjoy playing softball and volleyball!)
- Relax! There’s no better time than after tax season for CPAs to indulge in a little self care. Whether it’s catching up on our favorite TV show, reading a good book, or going on vacation, you can bet that relaxation is high on your CPA’s priority list post-tax season.
Choose Wood CPA, a Trusted Source for Tax Preparation and Accounting Services in the Twin Cities Area
At Wood CPA, we go beyond tax preparation: our accounting and business accounting services will also ensure your financial health is in top shape, no matter the time of year. And when April rolls around once more, our tax preparation services will ensure the process of filing your taxes is stress-free. Contact us today to schedule a meeting.