Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tax Help Available For Small Businesses By Jennifer Park

Jennifer Park

Many small businesses tend to procrastinate when it comes to filing for taxes. They behave in this manner for many different reasons. Some are uncomfortable in this unfamiliar territory, so they keep putting it off. Others, caught up in the daily operational issues of running a business, simply can't find the time to sit down to tackle the tax issue.

But filing for taxes is no small matter. It is required by law, and there is a dateline for filing taxes. Therefore, small business owners should take the matter seriously. They may even consider shutting down the business for a day or two just to give themselves time to settle the tax issues. However, for those who are unfamiliar with taxes, a day or two just isn't going to be enough time.

The right thing to do here, is to hire a bookkeeper. A full time bookkeeper will help maintain the books in a well organized and professional manner. When the time comes for filing taxes, everything is a breeze. Still, as the business continues to grow, it may have outgrown the services that a bookkeeper can provide. The needs of the business becomes more complex. In comes a qualified accountant. An accountant is better trained, and will be able to provide valuable advice on a wide variety of financial and tax matters.

If time is running out, it is possible to file for time extension. But bear in mind that this is a quick fix measure. It only gives the small business owner more time to handle the tax matters appropriately. Datelines can be immensely pressurizing. To prevent shortage of time, always plan in advance.

Mostly, an accountant will be able to serve the needs of a small and privately held company. But some companies have the ambition of going public from day one. So they focus more on growth. It's just a matter of time that the business will grow to such a stage where the accountant finds it hard to cope.

The first sign that financial help is required is when the management staff has to deal with financial decisions on a daily basis. For businesses arriving at this stage, the business owners may want to consider hiring a chief financial office (CFO). Usually, the CFO will have several accountants and assistants working with him or her.

The primary role of the CFO is to provide professional financial services to a business that is raising large amounts of capital, or the business has intentions to go public. During the stage of transition, a part time CFO may be hired to oversee financial aspects of the business. Over time, as the business stabilizes, a full time CFO can be engaged.

The key here is to remember that the finances of a business should be managed on a regular basis, and not be left to the last minute. Otherwise, the task ahead will appear overwhelming and insurmountable due to lack of time. Hire the expertise that is needed as early as possible, and keep the books and records clear and organized. This will benefit small businesses greatly.


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