Getting Started

What types of clients do you work with?

Our clients are small business owners. We primarily work with families and family-owned businesses.

What is your tax background and/or specialty?

We have worked primarily with small businesses and families. See here for a list of the services we offer. We specialize in helping business owners and families succeed from start their business to retirement and beyond.

How do you determine your rates?

The main factors we consider are the time it will take to complete the work, the complexity of the work and the related risks. We strive to add extra care to what we do. While we cannot be perfect, we can be excellent, and our rates reflect that.

What happens if I get audited?

We are here to help you every step of the way. In the event of an audit, we will work with you to make sure your rights as a taxpayer are protected. Audits can be stressful and even scary. Remember – you shouldn’t panic. We will help you understand what to expect and follow best practices.

One of the best ways you can help ensure that you are successful in an audit is to keep and maintain good records. The better the records, the better the chance that the results will be in your favor. has a great infographic on the audit process here.

Does the fee to prepare my tax return include tax advice throughout the year?

No. We do charge for our time and advice. Our tax advice, including planning, is one of the more valuable services we provide and is crucial to helping you reduce your tax bill. We will gladly answer any simple questions you have throughout the year and do not charge for basic questions. We also offer preparation packages that include one or more tax advice and planning meetings throughout the year. Keep in mind that the advice and counsel we can offer is the result of years of experience, education, and research. We are confident that you will find our help and support valuable.

What do you expect from me each year?

We work with client’s that are forward thinking, responsible for their own and their businesses’ finances. We expect you to keep us aware of any major changes, crucial decisions, or other matters that effect your business or personal financial situation. Once tax season arrives there it not much we can do to help. We don’t like surprises during tax season and nor should you.

We also expect that you are organized and mindful in keeping records. We ask that businesses have well-kept books and records. Of course, we will gladly help you with your books and records. You can either employ our services or we can help you find competent professionals in our network that can help.

How do I save on my taxes?

Everybody complains about paying high taxes, but there are a few things that you can do. Two main things come to mind: Maxing out your retirement and purchasing equipment or fixed assets. Both options can offer sizable deductions. Also, we are happy to go through your entire return with you and show you what more you can be doing to maximize deductions and lower taxable income. Sometimes, however, the tax bill is what it is. In that case we can offer a shoulder to cry on.

What if I am from another state?

Don’t let geography influence your decision. Just because there is a CPA down the street doesn’t mean she’s the right one for you. With technology, anywhere in the USA is considered your neighborhood. Video conferencing and screen sharing are becoming more the norm. And, if you’re not looking for specific tax advice, you can hire a CPA anywhere in North America.

What entity should I choose for my business?

This question is a very important one. We can help you evaluate your business goals and strategy to help determine which type of business entity will serve you best.

My bank wants a letter…?

For years, CPAs have been asked by third parties for verification, confirmation, certification, corroboration, authentication, or substantiation of their clients’ financial information. We will gladly help you respond to such requests. There are some important things to keep in mind:

  • CPAs operate under standards promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These standards determine how assurance services such as examinations, reviews and audits are performed. We must be very careful about whether any requests from a third party constitute assurance services.

  • Under existing AICPA standards, a CPA is never prohibited from providing factual information about a client provided they have the client’s approval, and they are not violating any confidentiality rules. There are many cases where we can respond. So long as the request allows us to comply with our professional standards we will gladly respond. We are always happy to discuss with your lender, broker, insurer, etc.

If the request does constitute assurance services, we can and do provide those services. We can provide you with the following options:

  • Prepare an audit, review or compilation of financial statements;

  • Offer an examination, review or compilation of pro forma financial information;

  • Supply an examination or compilation of prospective financial information; or

  • Write an agreed-upon procedures report, as long as the agreed-upon procedures do not provide any assurance on matters related to solvency.

How can I help you help me?

Very often the services we provide are only as good as the information you give us. business owners sometimes fail to communicate effectively with their accounting partners. They either forget to pass along key information, or the information they send is incomplete or disorganized.

Put yourself in the best possible position to succeed by helping us have complete and organized information when it comes to your company’s finances. By asking this question, you let them know that you value their expertise and that they can count on you to be a team player too.

How can I better prepare for tax season this year (or next year)?

We like to stay in touch with you throughout the year regarding your taxes. We want to avoid last-minute issues when it’s time to file. Some business owners wait right up until the deadline to send everything to their accountant, you can save yourself (and us) from headaches by collecting data and documents and sending them to us throughout the year.

How can you help me grow my business?

We strive to be more than mere number crunchers. We can help you lay a financial groundwork that will empower your business to succeed over time. We have experience with proven processes and industry-specific best practices that you may not even be aware of. If you have employed the services of an experienced accountant, but aren’t tapping into their insights as a business advisor or CFO consultant, you are absolutely leaving money on the table.

Other common questions that we will gladly answer.

Most questions are best answered by first understanding your particular situation. Many answers can be unique to your situation. Here some examples of common questions that we receive. We have great answers to these questions and recommend you contact us and set up a time to discuss your situation.

  • How can I take advantage of gifting rules?

  • How much salary should S corporation owners take?

  • How do self-employment taxes work?

  • What are the tax implications of this transaction?

  • What are you seeing out there?

“Cottonwood are true business partners that we trust implicitly and look regularly to for advice, guidance and help. They’ve taught us a lot, and saved us plenty.”