With the New Year quickly approaching, it is time to start preparing for the upcoming tax season and other accounting needs for 2018. While Accounting Girl focuses on accounting, payroll, and business management service, we are a valuable resource to you for your strategic tax needs. Here are some of the top questions you should be thinking about before the 2018 year begins.
1. What financial information do I need to complete 2017 taxes?
Throughout these final weeks of 2017 and the beginning of the New Year, everyone is thinking about what they need to do to prepare for tax season. While you know that you will need your W-2s, 1099’s, and other income-related documents, your tax accountant will be able to discuss with you what other items will be needed for your personal and business tax forms. This could be receipts of business-related expenses to be used to calculate tax write-offs, records of inventory purchases and sales, and other details that will positively impact your tax refund or payment responsibilities.
2. What can I do differently throughout 2018 to make the next tax season even better?
While it is easy to think that it is best to simply let everything gradually come together for each inevitable tax season, the truth is that taxes are a vital part of your yearly financial planning. Asking how you can improve your tax outcomes for the next year is a great way to determine with your tax advisor what elements need to be changed, removed, or added for the coming year. So be sure to ask them about items like income tax incentives available to you, options for purchasing your first home, managing stock options, or if you should open a donor-advised fund to help manage your charitable contributions,
3. What new or changed laws should I be aware of that will directly impact my personal finances, business, and employees?
As you have probably heard, there have been a few new laws and regulations that individuals and businesses should be aware of. Since we understand that it can be difficult or simply frustrating to keep track of these new changes and what they mean for you, be sure to ask your tax accountant which changes you should be aware of. From payroll, to paid leave, to healthcare, it is important that you know how the latest changes in tax and healthcare laws will affect your business.
4. What new programs or apps should I take advantage of for the new year?
Every year we see new and improved forms of technology being developed and starting new trends. According to numerous sources, we should expect to see greater availability in unlimited cloud-storage for data and mobile applications, more comprehensive workflow management systems, more secure cyber security to protect client information, and greater strides in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology systems. To truly optimize your business services for your clientele, be sure to ask your tax accountant what new software management programs and applications you should be taking advantage of throughout 2018.
5. How will my revamped 2018 marketing plan change my accounting needs?
When reviewing your cash flow projections and budget for 2018, it’s a great idea to also review your marketing plans for the coming year. Your goals could include creating a new business brand, redesigning your website, outlining new strategies to reach out to new and former customers, seeking new advertising possibilities, or developing new products and services. Whatever you marketing goals are, ask your tax accountant how such major changes will impact next year’s taxes.
6. I want to expand my business in 2018. How will this impact my expenses and next year’s taxes?
Deciding to expand your business is a big step, and a great time to determine what challenges and opportunities may start to come your way. If you are expecting growth in the next year, be sure to discuss with your tax accountant your plans for best utilizing your available capital, how you plan to expand sales growth, how this will impact your place in the new tax bracket, and so on. It is also important to think about any upgrades in technology you expect to purchase; which could be major tax write-offs for upcoming years.
7. I want to sell my business in 2018. What information do I need to prepare?
Whether you are planning on selling tangible or intangible business assets, or plan to sell your whole business altogether, it is important that you speak with a tax accountant before making such a major decision. You will need to have proper records of what is being sold or donated, what assets still hold value or are depreciating to determine tax write-offs, how selling will affect your taxes, and so on. You may end up finding that selling your business is going to be a viable option during the new year, or you may find that it is best to wait a little longer.
8. How can I improve my business-to-business relationship with my tax accountant?
If you have a tax accountant that you utilize annually, perhaps one of the most important questions you can ask of them is, “How can we improve our relationship together?” Do you and your tax accountant need to work on communication? Are there new applications that will improve how you share information? Should your approach change to conducting internal and external audits? How often should you provide new paperwork to prepare for the next quarter or fiscal year? How can I help you do a better job for me? Even the smallest improvements are bound to make a major difference in your relationship and future tax seasons.
9. Do I need to revise my current investments to align them with 2018 goals and potential risks?
Investments are easy to leave on the sidelines as you wait for them to grow, so it is important to regularly track them in order to determine if they are the still the best investments for you. Look at how your stocks, bonds and other investments performed over the last year, then determine what goals and improvements you would like to see for them in 2018. Your certified tax accountant is a great asset for helping you determine what changes you need to make to match your future investment goals and objectives.
10. What challenges need to be addressed throughout 2018 to reach business or personal financial goals?
Whether large or small, financial challenges are bound to arise at some point during the year. If they are more significant, they could mean the difference between achieving and not achieving your financial goals. Sit down with your tax accountant to identify challenges from the previous year, then determine what changes can be made to reduce tax liabilities in the next year.
Do you have any other question you want Accounting Girl to answer? Post your question for the 2018 new year on our Facebook page or contact us to schedule an appointment to see how Accounting Girl can help your business throughout the New Year.