All of our CPAs have been able to take vacation time during the tax deadline in the past few years. How is this possible? My team and I came up with a solid plan (with contingency back up plans) that allows us to work ahead of time, deliver information back to the client, and have tax returns filed a week before the deadline.
The “Typical” Tax Season Effects
Several years ago, I looked into a new life insurance policy for myself because it seemed like the smart thing to do. In doing so, I quickly realized that I was not in good shape medically, but more importantly, I was not in a good position professionally. My life insurance provider told me that my rates would be high not only because of my health, but because of my industry. By that, I mean my CPA profession was life-threatening.
Yes, you read that right. The mortality rate for CPAs is higher than that of other objectively riskier professions like skydiving instructors. CPAs work long hours, have poor work-life balance, and therefore have industry wide issues with obesity and other weight related sicknesses. Skydiving instructors have safety measures and back up plans and parachutes all to prepare them to jump out of a plane over and over and over. CPAs hadn’t figured out a backup plan. The work compression is stressful, it is so complicated, everybody has the same deadline, and some new issue always comes up. Busy season never felt like something I could adequately plan around to have a more balanced year, so I didn’t. And I, like so many other CPAs struggled with work-life balance, worked crazy hours, and ultimately had serious physical health problems, along with work problems.
The question was, “Why not?” I graduated from college, I passed the CPA exam, I built a business, but I can’t plan to keep myself healthy? Why couldn’t I exercise during tax season? Why couldn’t we, as a team, plan for success and include a contingency plan for when something goes wrong? Why couldn’t we come up with our own backup parachute?
If you think about it, I know when my deadlines are years in advance – April 15th, every year. And I also know who I will be doing work for since I have maintained a healthy client retention rate. So why can’t I plan ahead since I have such certainty in what I am doing and who I am doing it for?
Hello, “New” Tax Season
In 2013, I started protecting my medical health, and realized I needed to protect my work health as well plus my staff’s work health. I couldn’t work them harder, so I worked with them to create a plan we could stick to that would dole out rewards for everyone.
Here’s how that went: In 2015, our new plan made it possible for every client to be finished with tax season a week before the deadline. Since then, we’ve met that same goal for every tax season, April and October. How does that look for our employees? One tax season, we rewarded ourselves with a long weekend. I, Ford Baker, went to San Francisco with my son for a Father Son Football Weekend. Another CPA in the office went camping and hunting in Arkansas with his Brother-in-Law. I’ve also gone to Colorado with my wife on filing deadlines, and one of our directors did the same this last year.
We have been able to improve on that because underlying all of it was a technological innovation that allowed us to work on our client's information in real time. We gather our client accounting information each and every day, automatically, so we don’t have to wait or go back and forth with you to start our work. And we work on it throughout the year, so we don’t start your tax return after you stop your year, but work on the return throughout the year with you. We have become more efficient, and our client satisfaction has gone up, all because we were driven to have better balance in our lives and as a firm.
So, What Does All of This Mean for You?
If you are a business owner looking to work with a CPA that’s proactive, follows a plan, and delivers your numbers ahead of time, we’re the group for you. The key words here are “work with.” We can’t churn out the numbers early if we don’t have cooperation and cohesion from your side. We have back up plans for mishaps, but not consistent errors. This type of solution saves you time and it saves us time as well. Having said that, this plan we’ve been discussing includes limited hours on the BaCo side. If you’re looking for a group that will answer the phone night or day, rain or shine, no matter what, we are not the group for you. We sell time for a living, but not all of our time is for sale.
We aim for 100% satisfaction. The way we achieve that is through this plan of being proactive, handing out data ahead of time, saving you time, and saving us time. If you’re wanting things outside of this plan or you’re asking for the time that’s not for sale, we won’t engage with you simply because we know you won’t be satisfied.
If you are looking at this article and thinking, I wish my firm did this, then why can’t it? If the answer is because my firm would never (fill in the blank) then maybe your firm needs a fresh face, ours. We are different, we aren’t typical, but if your life is just as important as your paycheck then check out what we have to offer. You can fill out an application and come by the office. Maybe your firm will be our firm and your wish will come true.
Published on Jun 17 @ 9:18 AM CDT
As a small business owner, you have to make sure everything is running smoothly. This includes your accounting needs. This article explains what kinds of services reputable accounting firms should offer so you can know if you’re getting the right services from your firm.
The Multitude of Options
As a small business owner, you must make sure everything is running smoothly. This includes your accounting needs. There are a multitude of accounting firms out there that offer many different services. They might seem like they are all the same, but they’re not. Here are some of the services you should expect from a reputable accounting firm.
Tax Preparation & Planning
Be sure your taxes are being prepared by a CPA, or an EA, that is qualified to help you put together your federal and state tax returns. They make sure you’re not paying more than you need to because of technicalities and they can find things you might have missed.
IRS audits are common if you file your taxes incorrectly or past the deadline. Accounting firms can make sure that doesn’t happen. They can also help you through the process if you’ve already received a notice for the audit.
Also look for services aside from Tax Preparation. Tax planning is a way to set a course for the next year and help correct possible mistakes made in the previous year. Firms will also do monthly, quarterly, or biannual reviews of this with you to help you adjust throughout the year.
Accounting firms that service small businesses and business owners often offer services that help you run your business. This includes bookkeeping, payroll, valuation, and tax law. All these services will help you manage your business, especially if you don’t have to worry about them as much since they’re in the hands of trusted accountants.
For payroll, accountants can onboard new employees and make sure the right tax documents are put together. They can also manage your day-to-day accounting which takes one task off your to do list.
An accounting firm can collect and organize your books as well and make sure only accurate financial information is recorded.
Furthermore, an accounting firm that services your small business will usually do your personal taxes as well.
The BaCo Group’s Approach
Here at BaCo, we work with businesses and their owners real time, working on this year’s tax and accounting this year. Our patented workflow solution allows us to work in real time to track your finances and build your tax return throughout the year.
For business owners, gathering and sending all their accounting information to their CPA can be very burdensome. Our tech automates that process, so you no longer have to struggle to compile and send your data. Also, due to the way we gather your data, we can provide real-time reporting services. For your day-to-day business activities, we can help aid in monthly close outs, giving you access to real-time income statements and balance sheets that are automatically generated out of our workflow.
For tax purposes, we are preparing your tax return throughout the year so we can catch mistakes and opportunities to save more money on your taxes as they happen. It’s a proactive, year-round tax plan based on your current accounting information. We can also provide projections regarding taxable income, real-time.
If you are interested in seeing how we can help you ensure that you are getting the right services out of your accounting firm, contact us today!
Published on Jun 14 @ 9:01 AM CDT
Choosing the right CPA can be a difficult task especially if you’ve been unhappy with experiences in the past. Our experts at BaCo are here to help you make the right choice with some tips on what to look for and some tasks to tackle before choosing as well.
Looking for a New CPA
The tax deadline just passed and the reality is not everyone will be happy with the work their CPA did for their business. Maybe that’s you and you’re on the lookout for a new CPA for the next tax season. Well, choosing the right one is very important. There are a few different things to consider before making a choice. And there are other tasks to tackle before choosing as well.
Of course, the CPA you choose needs to be qualified, but what does that look like besides being a Certified Public Accountant? First, they need to be able to communicate. This doesn’t only mean they can run a productive meeting with you, but they should be able to translate tax language in a way that you understand. Think of it as someone who’s improving your tax knowledge and understanding for your business. We’ve mentioned this a lot that it’s not only the interactions that matter, but the quality of the relationship as well.
Experience is another qualification you should assess before choosing a CPA for your business tax needs. A CPA whose main clients are individuals or families would not be the right fit for you as a business owner. But your business size matters as well. A CPA who specializes in major corporation taxes wouldn’t be the right fit for a small business owner and vice versa.
When looking for a CPA, you might meet with a few to discuss what you’re looking for and if they’d be right for you. This is the time when you as a business owner and potential client need to express your expectations. This is important to start off on the right foot when you choose your CPA, but it also lets potential candidates know what you are and aren’t looking for. This way, they can let you know if they’d be a good fit for your business CPA needs.
Tasks Before Choosing
The first task you need to do before making a final decision about your CPA is compile a list of questions about your business that a financial planner might be able to answer. The following are some examples:
- Do I want to improve my cash flow?
- Do I want guidance applying for a loan?
- Is financial planning important to your business?
- Am I considering exiting the business – whether that means selling it or passing it on to family?
Next, you need to make sure the CPAs you’re considering offer these services that will satisfy your questions. You can check firm websites, partner profiles, services offered, industries served, and any other information for potential clients. Asking peers for recommendations is a good option as well.
Here are a few questions you can ask when meeting with potential candidates:
- What degrees, professional certifications or training do you have in accounting? Other areas? Each accountant at the BaCo Group is a licensed CPA with work experience from all over. Some have their bachelor's degrees and others have their bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting.
- What experience do you have working with businesses in my industry? Of my size? BaCo Group focuses on clients that are small business owners or entrepreneurs whose businesses have multiple entities. We’ve worked with clients in multiple different industries such as moving and storage and marketing agencies. We feel flexible in terms of what industries we serve.
- Who will be my main point of contact and how quickly should I expect them to respond? Our business is named BaCo Group because everything we do here is a team effort. During your time as a client, you will speak with multiple different people who are qualified to help you with whatever you need. We work to ensure that you do have a consistent point of contact and have several team members answering phone calls from 9-5 Monday through Friday.
- How do you set fees? We operate on a flat fee billed in advance, rather than an hourly rate billed after the work is done. When we begin an engagement with a new client, we set our cost for that client based on the work discussed, and then provide an engagement letter that covers the cost and details of the service we will provide. That can then be paid by monthly, quarterly, or one-time payment plans.
Any small business owners or entrepreneurs can set up a meeting with BaCo to discuss our incredibly unique approach to tax returns and accounting. Maybe we’ll be the perfect fit for you.
Published on Jun 09 @ 3:59 PM CDT
The phrase, "it should be easy," is one often used by entrepeneurs and business owners referring to their accounting. The BaCo Group agrees with this statement wholeheartedly, and we work hard to make sure it’s a reality for our clients by hiring the best staff, bringing on the right clients, and having the latest and greatest technology.
“It should be easy.”
In the maddening world of accounting and tax compliance, that phrase, “it should be easy,” is frequently repeated by entrepreneurs and business owners. That is, their accounting should be easy. The BaCo Group agrees with this statement wholeheartedly, and we work hard to make sure it’s a reality for our clients.
When it comes to financial services, you don’t have to look very hard to see how complex and intricate things can be. In fact, some firms & agencies strive to have complex agreements, pricing plans, and billing statements because they believe it showcases their expertise. They market their complexity as a good thing.
At BaCo, we take the opposite approach. The idea of complicating matters to turn a profit frustrates us just as much as it frustrates you. Therefore, we’ve made it our mission to make “easy” your reality. We don’t care if you’re a business owner looking for an advisor or a CPA looking for career advice, the goal is easy, and we want to make that possible for you.
What Does “Easy” Mean?
“Easy” means working on 2021 tax returns...in 2021. Even if the forms aren’t ready, BaCo prepares your data ahead of time so it’s ready when you need it. It also saves clients money because we don’t generate hundreds of hours in March and April and then surprise them with a looming tax bill. It also means staying ahead of deadlines, so clients don’t ever get past due notices.
“Easy” means BaCo doesn’t say “yes” to every single prospective client that walks in the door. We plan and organize our work so that when the day comes to an end, we go home, and we don’t take our work with us. Burnout is a serious thing, and we make sure that our staff is rested and refreshed so they can meet all your deadlines as a client. Fun fact: the BaCo Group staff famously takes long weekends during tax deadlines because we routinely finish our clients’ work ahead of time.
“Easy” means BaCo doesn’t keep clients who don’t comply with our uncomplicated method. Our clients stay organized and plan ahead, so our clients rest confident knowing they can focus on making the money while we focus on counting it.
While we can’t promise that every BaCo client will understand the complexities of current tax law or accounting itself, we can promise that you’ll work with the experts who do. BaCo is committed to using all the available technology possible to make it “easy,” even if it means writing our own software to ensure a seamless experience.
How Do We Achieve this Goal?
We start with ourselves. BaCo Group only hires the best to answer the bell. Furthermore, our systems and software are designed to prevent problems, not fix them. Why? Because time spent preventing a problem is always more efficient than fixing one that already happened. It’s also less stressful, which means it’s easier.
Choosing the right client is the next big part of how we make things “easy.” We work exclusively with business owners who want a simpler, more efficient accounting and tax routine. Unmet or misaligned expectations can do all kinds of damage to client relationships, and don’t set anyone up for success.
The last piece of the puzzle is technology. Believe it or not, we put away our counting beans and little green visors years ago. Now, we work with some of the most robust and powerful accounting software in the industry. How do we know that?
Well, we developed it and patented it. And we are continuously optimizing it. Our proprietary platform works on the enterprise level allowing us to report on multiple entities within large organizations. What once took lots of research, cross-referencing, and “let me get back to you on that,” now takes no time at all. We can answer questions more efficiently, document everything, and deliver the results to our clients.
Published on Jun 02 @ 4:24 PM CDT
Rodney’s problem is one experienced in many other businesses that have multiple different operating entities. The limitations in the accounting platform made consolidating reports so time-consuming that he never had a chance to prepare them, let alone analyze any trends until the financial statements were reviewed each year. That is when the team at the BaCo Group approached him about using a tool they had created that would combine the entities into one combined report and deliver them to him and his ownership group in an efficient manner...
Rodney met the accountants at the BaCo Group in 2017 when he took on the CFO/Controller job at a large agricultural construction company that operated out of Texas but managed projects throughout the country.
Rodney explained, “We were essentially a remotely managed company with a legacy desktop accounting solution that sat on a computer network in our office. Project cost management and reporting was a lot of my job and we used QuickBooks at the time to manage that and our payroll. In addition to our business, we had real estate, a management company, an equipment holding company, and other investments that we maintained. Getting all of that information consolidated and then shared with ownership was something that had not been done effectively or efficiently in the past.”
Rodney’s problem is one experienced in many other businesses that have multiple different operating entities. The limitations in the accounting platform made consolidating reports so time-consuming that he never had a chance to prepare them, let alone analyze any trends until the financial statements were reviewed each year. That is when the team at the BaCo Group approached him about using a tool they had created that would combine the entities into one combined report and deliver them to him and his ownership group in an efficient manner, eventually all online. It would also do something else that no other CPA or online financial reporting platform offered, it would help make the year-end process of getting tax returns completed and filed more efficient by integrating that directly into their CPA firm’s workflow.
Rodney was, of course, very interested and began working with the team at BaCo Group. Beginning in 2019, Rodney was routinely delivering combined financial statements to the owners of the company thanks to the technology utilized at BaCo Group. He was able to work with the team to create custom reports, like a trailing 12, that helped him close out each month. Most importantly, by year-end, BaCo Group could provide him with reports so he could see what his taxable income was, before year-end, not at the deadline.
Ford Baker is the founder of the BaCo Group and the primary innovator behind the patented technology from their sister technology company, BaCo Tech. Ford said, “The difficulty most firms have is many clients report on an accrual basis and file returns on a cash or tax basis, with accelerated depreciation, etc. A year that may be bad on an accrual basis may be profitable on a cash basis, so before the year is over, there is a need to spend some of the reserves for next year, in December rather than January. For many businesses, they don’t find that out until the taxes are due in April and it is too late to spend.”
Baker went on to explain why, “It is hard on CPAs because we spend most of our time putting last year’s numbers on last year’s forms and we don’t have time to work on estimates and plans. It wasn’t an enormous achievement just for Rodney, it was the proof we needed to show what we were doing was not only possible, but that it worked, and it was the kind of service businesses were eager to receive.”
It was possible because The BaCo Group had constantly updated access to all the reports and details for the entities Rodney managed. And the most important thing for Rodney was that “I didn’t have to do a thing.” Rodney explained, “BaCo Group had a solution that automated how I transferred my data to them, and it was done throughout the year, so the questions I used to get asked after year-end from activity that took place last year, had already been handled by BaCo Group as the activity happened. It wasn’t just that I didn’t have to send things after year-end, it was that I could address problems and questions with my CPA as they occurred, real-time.”
Baker explains how this is all possible; “ours is a patented process that works a lot like online banking, a process we describe as a transaction-based workflow. The efficiency and effectiveness of online banking is not that they e-mail you a statement with a balance on it at the end of the month, it is that the accounting software and your bank talk to each other during the month, exchanging and creating transactions, automatically. Our transaction-based workflow does the same thing for our clients and our firm. Transactions are delivered to us automatically and our technology allows us to do something client-focused, like notifying a client that they used a word in a memo that the IRS may not like in an audit and coaching them on alternatives. It allows us to be proactive with our client, instead of reactive and that really makes a difference in how we operate.”
Published on May 19 @ 3:54 PM CDT