3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT November 25, 2009

Robert N. Greenberger has more than a quarter of a century of experience in the industry, with a strong concentration in taxation, estate planning and closely held businesses. Currently a tax partner with Habif, Arogeti & Wynne LLP, he is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and has earned its designation of Personal Financial Specialist.

Q. What are some examples of recent changes in the law that might affect a struggling business?

There are a lot of things that will affect businesses and owners. We know that income tax rates and capital gain rates are scheduled to go up after Dec. 31, 2010. We know that estate laws will change at the end of this year, unless Congress changes something. What we’re telling people is that you can’t just sit back and wait. You have to get some advice for what you think may happen. For example, tax rates are definitely going up. What do people do? Where most CPAs have been saying for years to defer, it might be wise to accelerate income into 2009 before the end of the year.

Q. How often should a company meet with its accountant?

Many clients should be sitting down with us quarterly, and we have some who we talk to weekly or monthly. A relationship with a CPA should not be just cranking out a financial statement or a tax return once a year. If it is, then you’re not using a CPA for the value that is really there. We try to have relationships with clients where they outgrow just the need for an audit or a tax return, and they want advice above and beyond that. And when times are tough, they should be seeking that advice, not running away from it in fear of spending dollars in the short term.

Q. What information should a company share with its accountant?

In a good relationship, a client will call us for anything. I don’t want them to think anything is too small for a call. We don’t bill for phone calls. We encourage clients to call us, because the best way to discourage them from calling is to bill them every time.