Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saving Money on Accounting Fees

My husband is a CPA... but no he won't do your taxes, or ours.  He's not that kind of accountant.  Unfortunately, tax fees are one of the many things we found out that we've been over-paying for.  I've had an accountant that's done my business and personal taxes for the last 8 years; when we got married she continued to do our personal returns.  Paul didn't really question the price, as unfortunately neither of us really paid much attention and I didn't realize that I was paying too much.

This year, however, we've really been questioning the price of EVERYTHING, and in questioning the price I was paying for accounting fees I found out I was paying about 3 times the average price for S-Corp and personal returns.  EEK!  Seriously!?

I think in a lot of ways tax accountants can prey on fear. I keep going back to something I read in The Millionaire Next Door: Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy about how even though most millionaires tend to be frugal, accounting & legal services were the two areas where they were willing to pay higher prices.  Evidently, in those two areas there is a bit of "you get what you pay for" mentality, and I can definitely understand why.  It's a scary thought.  In 8 years of having my own business I've not been audited, what if this year (after changing accountants) is the year I get audited?  It's scary.

Despite my trepidation, we decided today (after meeting with the new guy) that we will switch.  For the huge amount of savings we will reap for switching I can afford a little fear I guess.  We did consider saving even more and having my husband do our personal return (even though he's not that kind of accountant, he figured he could handle the personal return) but he decided that it really wasn't worth the additional savings to do so.  After all, he'd still want to purchase the Business & Personal version of Turbo Tax and it will still take him a couple of hours to do it.  I have to say, on that note, I'm kinda glad and it gives me a little better gut feeling than the idea of him doing it himself.  He asked me what my gut said about this new guy; if I thought he might be shady or anything. I told him I didn't think he was shady, but I did get the feeling he'd much rather deal with numbers than talk to his.  His response: "Well, that's what you want in an accountant, it probably means he'll do a better job."  Man, I hope he's right.


  1. Hi Julie,
    Great post. I agree that the fear of an audit is a great motivator...not so much because I'm doing anything wrong, but because it takes so much time and energy and all the rules, etc are confusing.

    How did you find the new accountant?

    Thanks again,


  2. Your fear echos mine. I know I haven't done anything wrong but it doesn't make the idea of going through an audit any less daunting or scary.

    We found the new guy via Dave Ramsey's ELP (Endorsed Local Provider) program at http://www.daveramsey.com . I think I expected more out of his because of how he was referred too (because of Dave Ramsey's idea that pros should have the heart of a teacher - I'm not really sure this guy has that, since I feel like he'd really rather not deal with people).

  3. sorry to hear about your overpaying! my in-laws are CPAs, their prices are super reasonable. they do all the family returns.