Selecting a Trusted Tax Professional

March
04

If you are considering enlisting the help of a professional tax preparer, or are in a situation where you are thinking about switching or needing to make a change this tax season, consider an introduction to one of our trusted professionals through Buttonwood Financial Group.

Why seek an introduction from us? Because studies have shown that when your accountant, tax preparer or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) work closely with your Financial Advisor — clients achieve significantly better outcomes. We have also experienced better client outcomes when their estate planning attorney and their property and casualty insurance agents work closely with us to identify opportunities and mitigate risk. Less taxes, lower risk and greater savings are just a few of the ways better client outcomes are measured. Less stress, while hard to measure, is a sure sign a client has a beneficial experience.

This month we focus on: TAX PROFESSIONALS. Selecting the right professional takes time. We are here to help you make the right informed decision…the right fit for you. Here are 5 Steps of Due Diligence we consider before an individual becomes a trusted tax professional we introduce to clients:

Step 1: Beyond having first-hand knowledge of a professional’s abilities, we will typically know if they are associated with a known accounting or tax professional group. We may review the Accreditation Council’s web site to see they are an accredited tax adviser or preparer, or listed with the National Association of Enrolled Agents. We might also see if they are listed with the state’s CPA society which helps people find CPAs in their area. The level of professional expertise required will certainly depend upon your situation, which we can help you ascertain.

Step 2: We have often met directly with and interviewed professionals, as well as developed strong working relationships over time. Trying to hire a new tax preparer in the midst of tax season might prove difficult, especially if you expect to sit down with the professional for an interview. Some may make time to talk with you for a few minutes over the phone; however, it is difficult to tell if you have the right professional for you in just a short conversation. We most likely have asked the right questions in advance to direct you to the best introduction: Seven questions we ask tax professionals.

Step 3: If a tax professional ever mentions, implies or recommends cheating the IRS, this signals an unethical “red flag” to us and they certainly would not or longer be someone we would recommend to clients. We believe the old saying: “Honesty is the best policy,” is prudent and practical when it comes to taxes and being an ethical citizen. Once again, we want you to sleep well at night knowing your financial affairs are handled right.

Step 4: Special needs or circumstances may come up, such as care for a special needs person, or some other life event such as death, divorce or a large lump-sum payment from a retirement plan that will affect your tax situation. Our trusted professionals will often get advice from other professional colleagues, or recommend another professional if a situation falls outside their area(s) of expertise. It is comforting to know your trusted professional’s ego is not so big as to know when to seek additional expertise or advice when needed.

Step 5: Ultimately you will need to make a choice. We will typically coordinate with you to find a trusted professional or professionals with longevity so they can be around to answer questions months, or even years after your tax returns have been filed. That being said, we take no issue with you trying-out one or more trusted professional to ensure a proper fit. After all you have to live with the results, and you may as well like the trusted professional you work with, too.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Buttonwood for an introduction. Call us at (816) 285-9000 to discuss your needs.