By George Kevin Jordan, AFRO Staff Writer
Did you just spend last month fretting over getting your taxes in by April 15? Or worse, are you worried sick because you didn’t fill your taxes, or scared you did them wrong? Fear not. There are people who can help, and one person made it her business to help small businesses find their way.
Keila Hill-Trawick, CPA, MBA launched Little Fish Accounting, a CPA firm dedicated to the needs of tiny businesses. She started the business officially just a year ago, but has been in an accountant for the past 15-years with both the government and corporations.
Hill-Trawick said she started her business because the Small Business Administration defined small business as making less than $1 million. “My clients make way less than a million,” she said. “I wanted to focus on the entrepreneur, the freelancer, small LLCs or partnerships that don’t really have a department.”
Those people would have a tax preparer, but not necessarily an accountant. Hill-Trawick said she wanted to fill that gap for those smaller businesses, so they could make sure they were doing everything right throughout the year.
As she delved deeper into her business, she found she could provide another need for clients – consulting.
“I started to realize there was a need for people who were like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know where to start.’”
Hill-Trawick wanted to make sure people had a financial foundation from understanding when to file, to understanding what types of financial statements they would need, to what type of operating system to use.
“They just need to be able to talk to somebody,” Hill-Trawick said. “So they can take care of this themselves.”
What is the biggest issue Hill-Trawick faces with clients?
“You don’t have to be afraid of the IRS the way people are,” Hill-Trawick said. “They want their tax money. They are not trying to send you to jail.”
More importantly, the IRS has a lot of information they can share with you. They are a not the enemy, she said adding, “People incur penalties year after year by not just making a call to say ‘hey I didn’t do this. I recognize I didn’t do this. What can I do to fix this? But many people will just avoid the IRS altogether when it can really be a resource.”
Another misconception for a lot of small business owners is that you only need to deal with your taxes in spring every year. “Honestly its year round,” Hill-Trawick said. “A lot of people think its the crunch to hit April 15, but you want to be prepared throughout the year. You don’t want to be shocked at the end. You should have some general gut check of where you thought you should be.”
“You can also see what you are spending on the business to reduce your tax burden. But you can’t do that April 15.”
One of the biggest things Hill-Trawick hopes people learn is to take advantage of all the IRS has to offer.
“We’ve done such a good job of drilling April 15 to people, that a lot of people are unaware of the free extension. If you don’t have your stuff together, file out the extension. You’re paying so much extra in taxes cause you didn’t wait. The IRS offers that free option.”
Hill-Trawick didn’t necessarily want to venture out on her own saying, “I tried to avoid it at first. I thought ‘I already had a job. But people were like you should do this.”
But ultimately, she said. “I realized that I can see my impact when I worked for Little Fish. It felt much better to have clients say ‘I feel so relieved’ and you’ve explained it in a way they can understand.
“Being able to relieve that fear through accounting is something I didn’t expect but it’s the best part of my job.”
The next Little Fish event is May 20. For more information please go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/accounting-taxes-for-entrepreneurs-with-little-fish-accounting-tickets-60709591021