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What is Your #1 Piece of Advice to Clients in 2020?

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It’s a new year – and a new decade full of opportunities and growth. We asked our authors who write for the Intuit® Tax Pro Center to give us their #1 piece of advice for clients in 2020. Here’s what they had to say.

Chris Chapman, CPAAcuity

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to employee compensation packages. Although bonuses are a great incentive, the actual benefit to your employees is significantly reduced after federal, state, local and FICA taxes are withheld. Instead, consider adding an accountable and/or medical expense reimbursement plan. These types of plans enable you to provide tax-free income to your employees (as well as to business owners in certain situations), while remaining a tax-deductible expense to the business not subject to additional employer taxes.

Cassidy Jakovickas, CPAMBS Accountancy Corporation

As we move into the second tax season of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the impact of tax reform is well understood and planned for, which means fewer surprises for everyone. In 2020, I’m continuing to advise clients to stay focused on growing a great, profitable business that they are proud of, and a business that fits their life and goals. They don’t need to be so consumed by the tax impact of every transaction. It’s better to find ways to make more money rather than worrying about taxes; that’s our job.

Josh Lance, CPA, CGMALance CPA Group

Treat your business with respect. This means stop commingling funds between business and personal accounts. Be organized and have support for your financial transactions. Have a proper accounting system in place, and make sure it’s up to date and you’re reviewing reports from it regularly. Stop treating your business like your own personal piggy bank. If any of these points are not something you are comfortable with doing, bring in an accounting and tax expert to help guide you along.

Jackie Meyer, CPA, CTC, CTSMeyer Tax, The Concierge CPA

Most tax firms are not tax strategists, unfortunately. Our firm has seen many errors and omissions of new tax code strategies missed on clients’ returns this past year – adding up to tens of thousands lost per client. Push your accountant for what they know about strategy so they can plan for you in 2020, or find one that talks tax savings through the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches, for example. There are still many deductions, including the opportunity zone reinvestment, qualified business interest deduction, cost segregation and others that can be implemented in 2020 toward the tax year 2019 return.

Jamie E. O’Kane, CPA, CTCJE O’Kane CPA

Get outside eyes on your business. We all have blind spots. Letting your advisors counsel you on your pain points or the things you do not see is the quickest way to success!

Bhairavi A. Parikh, CPAAnalytix Business Solutions, LLC

My best advice to clients in 2020 is to find your niche and update your business plan:

  • Focus only on achieving business targets and leave the rest to the experts.
  • Hire professional help early on to help with tax planning throughout the year.
  • Keep records and address queries from your accountant in a timely manner.

Accurate books and supporting documents will help your tax pro save time during tax preparation and avoid filing without adequate information. At the end of the day, we are there for you. If you earned it, we help you keep it.

Andrea Parness, CPA, CTCA. Parness Company CPA

We find that our business and individual clients are still confused about how the TCJA affects various issues, such as their overall tax liability, entity structure, retirement benefits and deductible expenses. We will continue to encourage strong communication and engagement with our team of professionals. Our clients are comforted when they see that we are there to support them as advisors and that we are not just “all about taxes.”

Hal Rosen, CPAHaynie & Company

If you did not have your business financial statements ready for 2019 tax preparation by Jan. 10, 2020, you should have considered outsourcing your bookkeeping! Two years ago, a friend called me in December asking if he should buy a truck. I asked for his financial statements, and the silence on the line was deafening; he obviously didn’t have any statements, and didn’t expect to have them until March or April of the next year. We took over his bookkeeping, and by showing him monthly comparisons on a current basis, he has twice restructured the way he does business, and increased his net income by more than $100,000 each year. Every Friday morning, QuickBooks® Online automatically emails him his financial data for his review. He told me that what he pays us is the best return on investment he’s ever had! Bottom line: Make better business decisions by having real-time accounting.

Editor’s note: What’s your #1 piece of advice to clients in 2020? Leave a comment below to share your ideas!

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