Many marketing and advertising agency owners lack opportunities to save money on their taxes. Are you one of them? At Craig Cody and Company, Inc., our specialty is working with agency owners like you. Because we’re always looking for ways to serve agencies better, we recently conducted a proprietary attitudinal research study with 100 agency owners across the country to answer questions like:

How confident are agency owners in their financial skills?

What do agency owners think about their CPAs and CPA services for small businesses?

How can agency owners have a successful relationship with their CPAs?

In this blog, we’ll review the three agency owner segments established by our research. Ask yourself if you see your thoughts and attitudes reflected in these segments.

The Three Segments of Agency Owners

Regardless of their attitudes, most agency owners limit the number of people who have access to their finances, and a CPA is one of the few with insight into these numbers. Most also believe they are more financially savvy than other agency owners. As you learn about each segment below, consider who you trust with your agency’s finances, including taxes, and what kind of CPA relationship would be most helpful in reaching your goals.

Discouraged & Dismissive Agency Owners

Discouraged & Dismissive agency owners tend to only see value in their CPA during tax season. Comprising 32 percent of respondents, they have a lot of hesitations, worries and assumptions about tax planning, including that it’s necessary to cheat on your taxes to save money. They worry they will be audited on their taxes.

These respondents believe that working with a CPA is unnecessary if you have strong financial management skills. Their CPAs use too many complex concepts and financial terminology for them to understand. They worry their CPA is judging their skills. Because they find CPAs intimidating and struggle to trust others with their finances, it’s hard for them to utilize them effectively. Additionally, they’re reluctant to sign on for more services because they’re cost-conscious.

Behind the worries, these agency owners want CPAs to know who they are as people and understand the complexities of running an agency.

Responsible & Ready Agency Owners

Responsible & Ready agency owners are involved in their agency’s finances and generally want more support, advice, and education from their CPAs. Compromising 33 percent of respondents, they believe agency owners should be more proactive about their finances.

These respondents want to make informed decisions and believe they could do more to optimize their agency’s financial situation. To do that, they prefer to establish a relationship with a trusted CPA they can continue working with for many years.

Throughout the year, these respondents want their CPAs to come to them with legal tax-saving ideas and financial guidance. Success for them is having a collaborative relationship with their CPA.

Supported & Satisfied Agency Owners

Supported & Satisfied agency owners are content with the support they receive from their CPAs. Comprising just over one in three respondents, they trust their CPA’s advice and guidance. Their CPA informs them of all appropriate options to reduce their tax liability.

These respondents are active in their tax planning, pursue tax breaks and are willing to do whatever they can as long as it’s legal. They’re confident they get the best tax breaks possible and are comfortable pursuing as many as possible.

Additionally, these respondents also transfer money from their business accounts into their personal accounts.

Which Agency Owner Segment Do You Relate To?

Agency owners come to us with different perspectives, breadth of experience, financial literacy and tax savings goals.

If you relate to Discouraged & Dismissive agency owners, we recommend you seek a CPA that offers at least a flat fee with flexible payment terms that work for your agency. Working with a CPA does not have to be stressful. In fact, it can be your greatest asset in managing your agency’s finances. Finding a CPA to be in regular contact with can help you ask questions and build trust. Getting to know your CPA and CPA services for small businesses also allows them to get to know you better, which leads to better outcomes.

If you relate to the Responsible & Ready segment from our research, know that it’s common to have a CPA failing to meet your needs and expectations. Too many CPAs prefer to check in twice yearly and approach business relationships as purely transactional. You deserve better as an agency owner. Whatever your goals — scaling your business, optimizing savings during tax season, or increasing your take-home pay— it’s worth finding a CPA to get you there.

Those that see themselves in the Supported & Satisfied segment are on the right track. Your positive outlook will take you far, but you still would benefit from a CPA with specialized expertise in your industry.

All segments would benefit from working with a CPA that’s proactive about communication, supportive beyond tax season and diligent about knowing you and your business.

Ask yourself: Is your current CPA reactive or proactive?

Simply put, reactive CPA gives you no value. A proactive CPA saves you money and helps you plan for the future. More communication with your CPA leads to more accurate books and allows for a wider array of deductions because your advisor has more context with the workings of your agency.

There is no downside to more frequent communication with your CPA. Inputs determine outputs, so you will only get more value with more inputs.

In our next blog, we’ll share what questions and concerns each segment has in working with a CPA.

To learn more about each segment’s behaviors and the opportunities they present, check out our entire executive summary. And to explore the data yourself, check it out here.


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