Why It’s Worth Getting An Accountant

In these tough economic times, people are looking to pinch pennies wherever they can.  Whether that means cutting back on entertainment expenses, buying lower-quality food, or skipping the family vacation for a few years, the desire to save cash and build up a nest egg has never been stronger than it has in the last few years

While being money-conscious is never a bad thing, the mentality can sometimes bleed into areas that it was never meant to reach.  For example, when you see people “saving money” by not purchasing health, auto, or life insurance, you’re seeing a situation where saving money will actually lead to them paying much more in the future.  The same can be said of many financial decisions, and there is no more obvious an example than when hiring accountants.

Worth Their Weight in Gold

Most of us scoff at the accounting profession, wondering why anyone would go into it voluntarily.  We also tend to ignore the value of accountants when dealing with our own personal taxes.  This is a grave mistake that can cost you, your friends, or your family a lot of money in the long run.

A good tax accountant serves as the best compendium of knowledge that you could ever tap into when you need to get your taxes prepared.  Because most of us do not have an interest or care at all about the accounting field, it’s safe to say that our knowledge of tax law and IRS regulations is weak at best.  If you wouldn’t attempt to diagnose yourself with a disease, or bring a case to trial by yourself, why do so many of us decide to do our taxes without any assistance?

Sure, we might use TurboTax and think that we are getting value for our money – and we are.  However, when you consider the fact that you have to buy TurboTax year after year for around $80, and that you are almost certainly missing out on some deductions or credits, it just makes sense to at least try out a personal tax accountant.

Go For Quality, Not Cost

Most people’s immediate tendency would be to go to a chain company like HR Block to get their taxes done if they don’t use something like TurboTax.  However, these types of places have their own set of problems.  You’re not actually dealing with a consummate professional in the field – instead, you are dealing with someone who has been slightly trained in tax law and is doing this as “seasonal” work.

Instead, you need to seek out quality.  As they say, you get what you pay for.  If you go for a quality CPA,  like a tax preparer in Los Angeles, they will definitely cost more, but for that extra cost you get to tap into years, or even decades, of knowledge about specific tax scenarios that could help you save money.  To put it bluntly: if you had to pay twice as much for an accountant that ended up saving you almost twice as much as you would have, is it worth it?  Most people would tend to say yes when the question is phrased that way.

Develop a Relationship

Because you’re going to end up having a long term commitment to an accountant and they are going to be looking at your intimate financial history, it’s a good idea to get to know them on a personal level.  Stay and chat with them after you first consult and figure out what types of things they are interested in.  Share a little bit about yourself as well and see if you can find some common ground somewhere.  If you can, you’ll be able to develop a much stronger connection and it’s likely they will give your tax return some extra attention over the years.

That extra attention could mean the difference between finding a small tax loophole that they could legally exploit in order to save you tons of money.  These types of finds could persist for years on end, so you may even be able to gain some value from this over the next 2-5 years if you’re lucky.  In the end, tax accountants are an area where you should never look to save money – because it will only end up costing you more in the long run.

By author Richard Orban, on behalf of WallaceAPC. Be sure to check out their tax blog, it has some great articles!

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