Have you ever felt gutted / crestfallen upon finding out that you don't need to file a tax return in any given country? No?! You're probably not alone. I - however - felt exactly that last week upon finding out that it wasn't necessary for me to file a tax return with HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) for the UK tax year 6th April 2020 - 5th April 2021.
Why in the world would this news be disappointing? One less tax return to fill out (I already knew that I would be paying taxes to America's IRS for revenue earned during the aforementioned time period) should be cause for celebration, right?! Well. Let me tell you. It's because my accountant in the UK brings me so much joy...and he is so bloody brilliant, that I will miss collaborating with him on this annual assignment.
Self-employed friends - and friends who are aspiring to step into the 'self-employment status' ring! Today's message that I want to shower onto you is this: if you don't currently have an accountant who you absolutely love, I want you to get out there and start looking for - that's right - your 'soulmate accountant'...!
OK! What is a 'soulmate accountant'? It's simple. I am making up the term right now as I write. A 'soulmate accountant' is an accountant who brings you so much joy in working with him or her, that you feel disappointment if you receive news that you no longer need to file or pay taxes in the country in question. Voilà.
Why am I making such a big deal about you finding an awesome accountant?
Well, dealing with taxation - especially as a nomad or country-hopper - can be such a headache, that finding a person to ease the load and inject joy in the process can transform something that is painful into something that you look forward to every year. Does this seem impossible? If yes - you probably have never had a truly awesome accountant. Last year, my U.S. accountant reached out to me proactively with information about government coronavirus help for self-employed people that resulted in a $6,820 USD injection into my business finances...an amount that, quite frankly - and not surprisingly - made a big difference to my demolished-by-COVID balance sheet. (It's worth noting that I never would have thought to research this particular program on my own, as I was too caught up in my own narrative about how the social safety net in the United States is terribly malnourished.) Thank you, Dawna!
This begs the question: How does one go about finding his or her 'soulmate accountant'?
My biggest hack on this front for you is simply to decide to take the project of finding an awesome accountant seriously. Dedicate the time and the money it takes to make it happen. I interviewed five accountants in the UK before I hit the jackpot, and I would have interviewed more had I not found what I was looking for.
Another hack is to make a list of what qualities are most important to you in this realm. For me, I had three things I was not wanting to compromise on:
(1) It had to be someone who I would want to go to the pub and hang out with! (Basically, it was important that I like the person!)
(2) I didn't want a person who was going to charge me every time I met up with him or her. Au contraire, I wanted someone who would encourage me (implicitly with a fee structure and explicitly with words) to set up meetings and phone calls when I felt the need to do so.
(3) I'm super keen to learn, therefore I wanted someone who was pedagogical, so that I could grow and learn every year in the realm of taxation.
My third and final hack to help you find a great accountant is simply to ask everyone you know - and strangers, too - if they have an accountant that they can recommend. My soulmate accountants came to me via recommendations from my mother (USA) and from chatting to two blokes in a pub (UK). Letting your LinkedIn network know that you're on the lookout might bear fruit as well!
And in conclusion.
Here at Growmotely, we massively value incredible accountants, because all of the hired remote professionals in our community and on our platform (us included) are employed via contractor status, and therefore we are all responsible for setting aside the necessary amount of money for our tax liability as we earn it and then filing said taxes with all relevant governments. This is an awesome responsibility, and we know first-hand how competent and kick-ass accountants can turn this task into a joy and a learning journey. We believe that the Future of Work is a place where every contractor and self-employed person has his or her very own 'soulmate accountant'...and we want you to join us in creating this future! We want you to go out there, find your 'soulmate accountant(s)', and then watch them transform your life for the better.
Written by: Vanessa Kettner (Growmotely's Creative Writer and your Remote Work Cupid)
Dedicated to: my two soulmate accountants - Dawna Scheff (USA) + Adam Shaw (UK)