Monday, January 12, 2009

Small Business: Hire out tax prep to focus on the bigger issues

Taking care of clients has to be the top priority

NEW YORK -- The beginning of the year means small-business owners need to start thinking about income tax returns. But with the economy in tatters, they may need to focus more on bringing in revenue than sorting through receipts.

The recession is making many owners re-examine their priorities. Many may realize that chores they've handled themselves in the past like taxes or keeping the company books are better off turned over to someone else.

"It really does detract from the business and what you really need to be focusing on," said Laura Grimmer, president of New York-based Articulate Communications, a public relations firm.

Business owners who choose to spend their time on taxes are "missing an opportunity to take care of the three things that are going to keep the bus going -- existing clients, their employees and new business," Grimmer said

Kristen Collins, who owns KMC Partners, a public relations firm based in Boston, has a business manager and an accountant to care for her company's finances. So, this tax season, she said, "I'll service my existing clients, which has to be my top priority right now."

Collins said, "I am like many small businesses -- my business took a hit" in the third quarter. "When I look ahead to 2009, I can't forecast it. The best thing we can do is to retain clients and retain them through great service."

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