Who’s Not an Accountant? Your Well-Meaning Friend
Who’s not an accountant? Your bartender is not an accountant. He may be a master of mojitos, a wizard of whiskeys, a full-on sipping savant. What’s more, he overhears all sorts of things from people while he tends bar. So, should you take accounting advice from him?
Your BFF from high school is not an accountant. OK, she was your lab partner, and she was smart enough to keep stuff from blowing up. She probably knows a lot of things. But should you take accounting advice from her?
How about the guy who’s in the same business as you? He’s not an accountant, but look at the car he drives. He must be doing pretty well. You get a few beers in him, and he starts telling you about some of the little things he does that give him an edge. Should you take accounting advice from him?
Well, gee, I mean, if he’s making a lot of… NO!
And what about the person who starts by saying, “I’m not an accountant, but….”
Nope, nope, nope.
They Want to Help, But They Might Hurt You Instead
Well-meaning people who heard from a guy who knows a guy – they just want to help you. But when we (actual accountants) hear their advice, most of the time we either laugh or we cringe.
Recently, someone told us his friend advised him to run all his personal expenses through his C corporation. That’s not just wrong, it could be criminal (check out this recent blog post)!
A “helpful” friend told another client that he could buy a vacation home, rent it for a few days a year, and then write the whole thing off. Yeah, that would be a no.
Some well-meaning advice warns you off of tax strategies that will actually help you. For example, filing an extension is NOT an automatic invitation to trigger an audit. Making sure your taxes are accurate when they’re filed is better than rushing and making mistakes. But another common piece of wrong advice is that an extension means you don’t have to pay until later. Nope – work with your accountant to come up with the best estimate of what you owe, then pay what you can by April 15.
The know-it-alls will also tell you a home office deduction is another audit waiting to happen. But if you have a legitimate home office, it’s an important source of tax savings!
So, Who Is an Accountant?
Guess what – your accountant is an accountant! We’re happy to answer any question you might have. And please ask us before you follow any advice from the guy sitting next to you on a plane. If it sounds too good to be true… you know the rest.
We may not know how to mix a killer martini. We may not remember which litmus paper color is which. But we know accounting, and we love to talk about it! It’s why people tend to shy away from us at parties.
At least this columnist KNOWS he offers bad tax advice.
Lastly, you can learn more about our services here!