Small business owners have big jobs. Often acting as accountant, HR department, and management team, they have their hands full all year around. But of all their tasks, one causes the most anxiety: taxes.
According to SCORE, a nonprofit association that mentors new companies, small business owners see bookkeeping and taxes as a huge headache. Without the right tools and training to stay organized, it’s easy to fall behind or miss out entirely on important deadlines or fees.
“When small-business owners without a tax background go DIY to keep costs low, errors occur, which can cost hundreds or thousands in penalties and interest for errors,” says tax professional Jessie Seaman. That’s why solid advice and expert guidance is so important. In a recent SMB Financial Decision Makers survey by Concur, it was found that small and medium businesses have a need to reduce time spent on administrative efforts. This includes on expense management and invoice-processing. Seven out of 10 SMBs reported using invoice software to keep finances in order, expressing enjoying key benefits such as a reduction in paperwork and increased overall productivity.
So how can you manage the books for your small business without wasting time or getting in trouble? We’ve compiled a few tips to keep you in the clear during tax season – and beyond.
Stay on track with the right tools
When it comes to preparing taxes, guesswork simply isn’t good enough. As a business owner, you have to keep up with when, where, and what to file – and also stay on top of changing laws and regulations. Oftentimes, the task is simply too much for one person. The question isn’t if something will get missed, but what.
Here’s the good news: there are many smart tools designed to keep you organized throughout the year. Having all your numbers in order can ease tax time stress, and make your accountant’s job go more smoothly, too. Look for solutions that are geared toward helping small businesses like yours thrive. Among other things, you’ll want to select tools that are cost-effective, easy to use, and supported by real people. For example, expense reporting software such as Concur ensures that employee expense reports are on time, accurate, and easily accessible – making filing a breeze.
Make sure your accountant is up to the task
A good CPA is your best defense against unnecessary risks or exposure when it comes to filing taxes. They can easily spot where things are missing – and show you how to fill in the blanks. And since they follow tax laws all year around, you won’t be rushing to catch up on unfamiliar regulations before taxes are due.
Finding a good accountant can be tricky, so get a few referrals from sources you trust such as an accountant in Concur’s Advisor program (firstname.lastname@example.org). Then, carefully interview each candidate to find the one that fits best with your company. “Don't base your decision solely on cost… an accountant who charges higher hourly rate is likely to be more experienced and able to work faster than a novice who charges less.”
Remember – budgeting for an accountant today can save you money in the long run.
Own the process
Tax time can be challenging for small business owners, but it’s far from impossible. Even if you weren’t prepared last year, it’s not too early to start getting ready for next tax season. By sourcing the right help and staying on top of numbers throughout the year, you can turn taxes from a headache into a competitive advantage.