Laws, rules, and regulations are often misunderstood. If you ask two different accountants what a rule or regulation means you will have two different pieces of advice. Same goes for taxes, legal issues, and almost anything related to compliance. So, if all of the compliance items we have to deal with are open to interpretation, what are businesses to do?
Wisdom in Counsel
No business should trust a single outside firm for advice, whether legal or financial. At the end of the day, the business owner is solely responsible for the results of following that single advice.
Sometimes it isn’t that the advice they tell you is wrong, maybe they just don’t tell you everything that you need to know. Can you say you are 100% sure that you know everything you have to do to meet local, state, and national regulations? Of course not. Our lawmakers have made so many rules and to keep them all straight is an impossible task.
However, you don’t want to get to retirement and realize the advice you got was wrong and you have to continue working. You don’t want to file all of your taxes and realize that you forgot to file your state business registration for three years because you assumed the CPA was doing that.
Why Does This Happen
I don’t think any honest firm purposely misguides you. There are a number of reasons why this happens. Maybe they interpret the rules one way, and someone else views it another way. Maybe they have one train of thought and are just following it. Maybe they are experts in one area and not all areas. Maybe they are assuming you already know something and that you are taking care of it.
It is a mess to wade through. Every owner and manager must get advice from multiple sources. Take in all of the information and then make an informed decision. You must have informed consent, because at the end of the day you will be held responsible for whatever consequences may come your way. You can’t outsource understanding! You don’t have to be an expert in the specifics, but it is essential that you understand the whys.