What is Accounting?

Ask most people what they think accounting in Elkhorn, WI entails and you’re going to get a wide variety of responses… most of them centered around managing money. While this is definitely in the ballpark of what an accountant does, accounting is much more than just recording transactions and tracking down cash! There are really two distinct facets of accounting:

  1. Recording transactions and managing cash flow.
  2. Organizing, retrieving, summarizing and presenting data regarding cash flow.

Now, even the above explanations are pretty generalized and that’s because the job of an accountant might vary tremendously depending on the employer—a small business accountant might be tasked with presenting profit and loss data to owners and management, while a personal accountant might be more entrenched with tax filings and asset allocation. This isn’t to say that accounting duties can’t overlap, however—they often do!

Accounting in Elkhorn, WI might seem like a complicated numbers game and it often is, but at the root of it all, it’s more than just a suit sitting behind a desk balancing books for a business—it’s a skilled professional making sure that the numbers add up and the business (or person) stays financially sound.

Ask an Accountant in Elkhorn, WI: Five Common Accounting Questions Answered

For many people, the concept of accounting can take on numerous meanings. Some people like to picture accountants with old school calculators, visors and cash-counting machines, toiling away to make sure that all of the dollars and cents add up just right; others picture accountants as ledger-keepers in suits, who spend their days penciling in every business transaction while they literally balance the books.

The fact of the matter is that in today’s day and age, accountants in Elkhorn, WI have outgrown both of these stereotypes to becomes something much more than just money managers. In fact, today your accountant can help with a variety of things, including payroll and business planning, and these professionals are truly the keepers of knowledge when it comes to business cash flow and operations.

To this end, we’ve compiled five of the most common questions that people ask in regards to accountants in Elkhorn, WI—the answers might surprise you!

  1. What exactly are the duties of an accountant?
    Accountants can be hired for a myriad of reasons pertaining to your small business, but most of the time, it comes down to a few core services: bookkeeping, payroll services, tax prep and filing, and business planning. These things all encompass a business’ cash flow and taxes, which are the prime areas of focus for an accountant.
  2. Why should I hire an account if I can balance my own books?
    This is a big question that often gets asked by small businesses seeking to cut out the middle man and save money. Basically, when it comes right down to it, an accountant in Elkhorn, WI is going to handle your finances better than you can—unless of course you’ve gone through years of schooling to be an accountant, passed numerous accounting examinations and are certified for things like bookkeeping and tax preparation! Hiring an accountant will keep your books balanced, your mind free to focus on other things and will ensure that this critical aspect of your business is being handled to its fullest potential.
  3. How do I hire an accountant on my terms?
    Again, many people want to take advantage of accounting services, but only on their own terms, as a way to save money. The good news is that many accountants can be hired on an hourly basis or even via a retainer fee. If you only need accounting services part-time or sparingly, these options allow you to take full advantage of a professional’s time and expertise!
  4. When should I hire an accountant?
    The answer is as soon as possible! If your business is just starting out, an accountant is going to give you the very best insight into how to proceed sustainably; if you’re already up and running, an accountant is going to give you valuable insight into what your financial picture looks like.
  5. What’s the difference between an accountant and a CPA?
    The answer is: not much! Both professions are considered to be accounting professions, however CPAs can do a bit more on the management side of things when it comes to your business. For example, if you need to produce a business audit, a CPA will be required for this process. As a business grows larger, there’s more of an emphasis on CPAs, however in early stages of business, a regular accountant will be able to provide essential services for an affordable cost.

Why Hire a Professional for Tax Prep in Elkhorn, WI Instead of Using at-home Software?

Today it’s easy enough to do just about anything from the comfort of your own home, including filling out and filing your taxes each year. With the widespread use of TurboTax and other online tax service software, virtually anyone can take comfort in the fact that their taxes are being filled out and delivered correctly and on time.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that despite being used so widely, at-home tax prep software isn’t infallible—in fact, sometimes it can lead to costly errors and unnecessary headaches! Because many of these programs are automated and have built in fact-checking software that’s designed to spot more glaring errors, minor issues are often overlooked until someone at the IRS nails them down, creating adjustments and other such issues with your return.

All of this isn’t to say that at-home tax software is bad—in fact, it can be a huge convenience. But, if you’re looking for complete peace of mind and a truly infallible way of dealing with your yearly tax headache, your absolute best bet is to work with a professional accountant when it comes to tax prep in Elkhorn, WI.

Peace of mind has no price

Aside from just ensuring that your return is error-free and on the level, a professional accountant is also going to ensure that you’re getting the very best return possible from your filing. When it comes to TurboTax and other such programs, the system automatically selects your filing based on your information—and generally it’s a filing that’s convenient for you. But, if your tax return is complicated or multifaceted, your accountant might select a different option—one that favors you even better!

Also a major benefit of working with an accountant for tax prep in Elkhorn, WI is being able to ask questions and get answers. If you have a question about a withholding, a big purchase, a tax break or something else that might pertain to your filing, having someone answer you question and walk you through it pays dividends when it comes to your personal knowledge regarding your own tax situation.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when you hire an accountant for tax prep in Elkhorn, WI, you’re also hiring someone to help you in the event that the IRS decides to audit you. Audit protection is something that many people don’t think about until they need it and being able to rely on the same person who filled out your tax return means peace of mind when it comes to resolving your filing issue quickly and cleanly.

Take the professional route

It might be easy to download a tax prep program at home, plug in your information and send your filing off to the government, but with this quickness comes the possibility for error. On the other hand, working with a professional accountant provides you the same quickness and convenience, with more emphasis on accuracy and thoroughness. Which will you choose this tax season?