An ideal relationship is, you should be communicating least once a month. What we do with our clients is, when we go through their books and we get them straightened out every month, we schedule the Zoom call, and we go through the P&L. We might be on one week or one month, we might be on for five minutes, another month we might be on for a half hour. It depends on what’s going on. The more you are communicating back and forth, the more you can help people. The more they tell you, you know what’s going on. Oh, yeah, I’m starting another business, or I’m looking at starting another line of work. What’s the best way to do it? But, if you don’t have that conversation until the following February or March, there’s not a whole lot of stuff you can do. It’s hard.
Waiting to Long to Communicate!
I’m not ripping on CPAs, but you’re going to probably get less of their best focus and energy when you’re waiting till February or March to begin communicating with them.
You’re definitely going to get a lot less of their focus and energy because they’re in a time crunch. They’ve just got too much work to do in a short period of time. They don’t have time to think about, okay, what could we do, or what could we have done? And, this is what you should do, all right? Whereas, when you have that conversation every month, not only are you learning about each other, and what their business is like, and how to help them, but you’re also making sure that they implement the things you told them to do. So how hard is implementation, right? It’s, we could go to all the conferences we want, but if we don’t implement, it doesn’t do anything for us.
Monthly, we should have a monthly conversation. It could be long, it could be short, whatever it is. Something you talked about early was a tax coach is going help understand the goals of the business, where you want to go, and kind of help guide you, and things like that. I want to get super practical here, which is why I’m about to ask us to do this next thing. Can we role play two minutes of what a conversation like that might be?
Communicating to Find Out What is Going On!
Like, if you get on the phone with me, say I’m a new client of yours, I’m a contractor, I’m a painting contractor, right? I do half a million dollars a year currently, and I just hired you as my CPA, and we’re going to have this call. What are some of the things you’re asking me to help figure out what this planning thing looks like?
I want to know what’s going on at home, okay? Are you married? Do you have kids?
I’m married. I have three kids. My boys are both 18.
They both live at the house. My daughter is 13.
Do they do any work for the business?
One of my sons does video stuff for the business.
Okay. Do you pay him?
Yeah. He’s on a salary. He’s a W2 employee. I pay him $500 bucks a month and he does little things here for me, here and there.
Great. As long as you’re documented, that’s all good stuff. Do you ever work out of the home?
Yes. I just got a new office here that I leased, that I’m planning on leasing for two years because I have a bigger plan with what we’re doing. But on occasion, I’ll do calls out of the home. I do, yeah, I work out of the home.
Not full-time anymore.
How Much Time are You Spending Working From Home?
If you’re like most business owners that I talk to, you probably spend at least 15 hours a week, answering emails, doing billing, or whatever it is from home. Do you have a home office? Do you take a home office expense on your tax return?
We have the last several years, but we literally just bought a house and part of the deal of buying this house, we downsized and didn’t want to put an office in the house. Because of this, I have this place that I’m leasing now that’s an eighth of a mile from my house.
Okay, but you probably have a room that you use exclusively to do any of that?
No. I don’t. There’s an area in the basement. I sit on the couch. When I need to work at home, I sit on the couch.
Well, maybe we should segregate an area out that you can use, so you could work-in the home office deduction. One of the beautiful things is, do you have a gym at home?
Yeah. A gym.
Okay. Do you have a pool?
Okay. You’re up in Colorado, so you might not have a pool, but do you know that you can have a home athletic facility if you have an office in your home? Then, you could deduct the cost of operating, whether it’s that gym or the pool, and even depreciated it.
Wow. I didn’t know that.
Yeah. And once you have that home office, it also opens up your travel from your home to your other office to be deductible.
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