The one good thing (maybe) that came out of the pandemic was the acceptance and normalization of using technology to have meetings. Software platforms like Zoom even allowed people to have a free account to see the face of their friends and family. People embraced this method of communication because it was all they had to remain in contact with one another. Since the pandemic is mostly behind us, should we revert to in-person meetings?
The answer to that question is that it depends. There are instances in which a telephone call or an electronic face-to-face meeting will allow you to accomplish what is needed for the task. However, there are certainly many times when having that in-person connection is essential. What about meetings with your accountant? Should you meet in person, or is it enough to send your documents via email or regular mail for their review? Here are some things to consider when making that decision.
Developing a Strong Relationship is Essential.
If you speak to anyone with a successful business, they will tell you that developing a solid network of connections is crucial to success. As a business owner, you cannot know what you don’t know. When you form a good foundation of people around you, they can help support your personal and business needs. Having a good relationship with your accountant can help you better understand your financial situation. When you meet in person with your accountant, you will likely have other “chit-chat” that may influence your connection. You may have similar hobbies or children the same age. Some little nuggets of information that will connect you. That threat will not only start a solid foundation but will continue as you work together throughout the years to come.
Things Often Come Up in Conversation.
Meeting with your accountant and their office or yours gives you time to have a good conversation about your financial health. When you are sitting across from one another, you may have a more fluid conversation as opposed to having a screen or telephone between you. When conversation flows naturally and without interruption, pieces of information that may not seem important can be relayed. Your accountant may be clued in that you purchased a new car or perhaps moved to a new home. These may trigger something in their brain to research if those changes could help you to save taxes through a deduction or suggest a different type of loan to save interest on the payments. These types of conversations could also occur via phone or video call, but only some are as comfortable with technology as others. This can create barriers to open and natural conversation.
Time is a Commodity.
You may have heard many people talking about how they either have time or money but never both time and money. Some people value money over time, and others do the opposite. If you love time, skipping the in-person meeting may be for you. One significant benefit of meeting via video or telephone is the time savings associated with that meeting. No one has to spend time commuting to a meeting space. There is often less small talk allowing for short and to-the-point meetings. Virtual meetings also typically have a very specific agenda and an allotted amount of time. You could save at least an hour of your time (and your accountant’s) but not meeting in person with one another. This time could be used for a leisurely lunch, time at your kid’s game, or even as an extra hour of work to make more money (giving you both time and money.)
Having Your Computer Screen is Useful, but so is Paper.
Meetings with your accountant will likely involve a detailed review of your “numbers.” You may review your profit and loss statements, end-of-year tax estimates, or future projections. Some people may prefer to have a paper copy of these reports and review the information that way. Others analyze the numbers more effectively when they are on a computer. If you are meeting in person, it is likely that you are either reviewing on paper or sharing a screen with one another in close proximity (almost everyone has had a meeting with chairs next to one another, fighting for control of the mouse.) Virtual meetings allow you both to have your computer screens up through a screen share or as individual files. When considering meeting with your accountant, consider how you will best “hear” the data being presented to you. If seeing it in black and white on paper is better for you, then an in-person meeting may be ideal. Technology-driven minds (and those who love spreadsheets) may prefer a virtual meeting where they can review things electronically.
Only you and your accountant will know if a meeting in person is required. Having one meeting a year in the same room and the rest of them virtually will give you the balance needed to keep that strong relationship going. The Hayes Accounting team will gladly work with you in formulating the meeting plan that best suits your needs.
Contact us today to schedule your first meeting, whichever way you would like.
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