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Lawyers and CPA's

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by LakeCountry, May 21, 2001.

  1. LakeCountry

    LakeCountry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    I am working on my budget and have two line items I would like to get your opinions on...

    Can you give me an idea what you needed one of these guys for and what the approximate cost was to consult with them?

    Do you continually use them or does Clip or Quick Books generally do the job until Tax time?

    I want to know if I should just budget a handful of hours or what. I am going to be a one-man crew for a while, possibly my wife coming in on it as well, but no employees in the foreseeable future!

    I can't stress how much help this board has been to me getting this document together! Thanks for all the input and the search option is a huge timesaver!

    Great job all of you!
  2. curlawngreen

    curlawngreen Banned
    Posts: 309

    Pay the accontant $100 per month.Shouldn't need a lawyer. Get Phil oe Phagen to write your agreements.
  3. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    $100 a month at his size???

    Send me the $100 a month and I'll throw in the lawyer.

    You shouldn't need a lawyer until you screw up. As for contracts, the guys here can help you with contracts. Phil will charge you, and at your size you don't need that expense.

    Generally, for a small operation, an accountants fees (at tax time) shouldn't be more than a few hundred dollars.
  4. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    I agree with John. I'll do it for $90.00 a month LOL If you are using an accounting software such as Quickbooks or using Clip, you should be able to track everything you need & then get the accountant to prepare the taxes. This is if you have the basics down. If you don't have a clue as to the basic accounting principles then make sure you get the accountant's help with setting up those programs correctly for your particular situation. Then after paying the accountant for that, you should be able to get away with having the accountant do the taxes at year end.
  5. LakeCountry

    LakeCountry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    I was planning on using CLIP but just as BRL said, I want to be sure I get everything started correctly. I went through two years of accounting in college so I know the basics, just want to be sure I start off on the right foot.

    Would you all think that initial set-up would also lend some direction to leasing vs. buying? I know everyone does it differently, but I don't want to lose all liquidity in equipment while at the same time, maintaing a low monthly debt service.

    Thanks for the feedback!
  6. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    You've just left half the group in the dark with that question.... which indicates that you are well along the right track.

    There are many different theory's with what you ask. Alot depends on your particular situation. If you have the capital I would suggest buying as the investment will drop to retained earnings. If capital is not readily available then leasing is the way to go to perserve operating capital.

    Just starting out (and if I was doing it over again), I'd lease.
  7. LakeCountry

    LakeCountry LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57


    I aim to put as many as possible in the dark! Thanks for the feedback. My wife is opposed to getting an intitial CPA consultation and I am for it, but there are much bigger battles to choose, so knowing I feel comfortable with the basics I am going ahead without it.

    Any ideas on how to persuade someone to take substantial real-estate earnings and push them into a business? - That's the battle!
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    If you have the question, go pay for the answer. Around 15 years ago, I wondered about my accounting techniques - pre-computer, all paper recordings. I went to a good CPA ($125/hr, mid 80s prices). Spent almost an hour with her, even discussed software for computerization. She suggested one step that I could add, one that I had forgotten to show but did have with me in data. She very nicely told me I did not need an accountant, and there will be no bill. If you are going to go it alone, go heavy on data retained; better to have too much.

    I have a friend with a business much larger than mine. He is going to a REALLY GOOD accountant. Has to go to accountant at least once, sometimes 2-3 times a week. This is so he can be trained to keep proper data in proper order for the accountant to organize his business. Will pay out over $2K to the guy this year, but he has recovered more than that in refiling last 3 years federal taxes.

    If you do question your capabilities, in any area of the business, don't be afraid to lay out a few bucks. In my early green industry days, not having time for formal education, I once hired a young golf super for half a day for $100 to go around to my properties and criticize my work. The only thing I learned was that golf turf and ornamental turf were two totally different animals. LOL!! But I did learn that, so the money wasn't wasted.
  9. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    I have no current affiliation with any accountant or lawyer, however, going thorugh business college, many professors who were also retired CPA's repeatedly said your two best friends in business should be your accountant and your lawyer. You can't argue with that statement unless you have something really good to back it up with.
  10. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    First, the disclaimer, I am a CPA.

    If you don't have much accounting knowledge and you are going to use accounting software, talk to a cpa for help setting up Quickbooks if that is what you are going to use.

    The money you pay someone to set it up right will save more than that what you will pay them to fix your screw ups because you had no clue what you were doing and tried to save a few bucks.

    As far as using them continually, it depends on how complex your situation is and what you want to know about your financial situation.

    Do you want to know where you stand tax wise before April 15th?

    Do you want advice about business trends, etc?

    If so, consult your account as needed.

    Do you understand what your software is showing you?

    If so, maybe you don't need to see them so often.

    It depends on your circumstances.

    Most CPAs will offer an initial consultation for no fee or a minimal fee on the prospect of getting a new client, like you submitting a bid. Obviously, they aren't going to set up an accounting system for nothing.

    Another thing, if you are using software and the CPA you are talking to acts like they don't like Quickbooks, etc., you probably should find someone else that knows and is willing to work with your software.

    As far as the attorney, consider finding an attorney that you are comfortable with so that if you need one, you aren't faced with picking one on the spur of the moment.

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