Thursday, May 24, 2012
Time for a professional!: Legal Checklist Part 3
By a show of hands how many of you have taken positive steps towards reaching your goal of owning your dream business? I see a few hands are still not up. It is not too late! We know you have an idea or you would not be here. Most of you have a name for your business so get your research done and get ready for the next step. This next step sounds scary but I promise it will be ok. You are about to make your first monetary investment in your success. It is time to make an appointment with a certified public accountant known as a CPA. This might be the person that prepares your taxes or you may need to find someone new. Your CPA should service small businesses on a regular basis. You will need to rely on your CPA to help you decide what legal form your business should take. Ask around and get references!!
Why do I need a CPA to advise me on my business? Shouldn't I hire an attorney? Right now you need financial and tax advice. An attorney cannot offer you financial advice. A CPA can talk to you about your personal tax situation and discuss different business set ups that will be comfortable for you. You also need to set up a bookkeeping system. This can be a simple thing so do not panic.
For a new business the most important thing for you is knowing how to track your business expenses. It is easy to overlook things like mileage on your car which at .51 cents a mile add up quickly. Only your CPA can tell you what records you need to keep and what you can use as a tax write off. You must capture ALL of your expenses as most new business operate at a loss. This appointment with a CPA will pay for itself almost immediately! You can expect your consultation to cost between $150 and $300. You will save more that $300 per year in deductions you never even thought about. Painless!!
Make your appointment with a CPA and get ready for next week when we talk about what type of business forms are recommended from a legal viewpoint. Are you looking to set up a partnership? Be a sole proprietor or go large and incorporate? Part four will be an overview of these different types of business set ups and loads of resources to help you decide what is best for you and make it happen! Stay tuned we are just getting to the good stuff. See your CPA and avoid the mayhem at tax time!