Anyone else feel a tad bit inadequate after watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix? If you haven’t heard of the series, during each episode, organizing expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out clutter in their lives with her KonMari method. Before watching I thought I was a relatively neat person, but now I have a tiny voice in my head yelling, “WOW, STAND THAT UP VERTICALLY, YOU SLOB,” every time I put away laundry.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about how we can apply some of Kondo’s tactics to another aspect of life that may need some work: money.
When you think about it, CPAs are the Marie Kondos of finance. They’re the gurus of managing money, and they help us keep our financial house in tip-top shape. Read on for a few ways CPAs keep their clients accountable using KonMari-esque tactics.
They help clients find joy.
When Kondo helps clients decide if they should keep or donate an item, she has them ask themselves, “Does this spark joy?” If so, they keep it, and if not, it’s clutter to get rid of.
CPAs help their clients do the same with their finances by asking the hard questions. Do you really need a brand-new car? Will renting office space for your online business actually grow your success? This keeps their clients in check by helping them determine what expenses really matter. A lot of the time, financial stability can provide the freedom to “spark joy” in your life. It goes back to the old “wants vs. needs” lecture we heard from our parents – make sure you cover all your bases first, and then you can decide what to splurge on.
They take care of the paperwork.
That junk drawer in your kitchen likely houses months and months of random bills and receipts, among other things. Kondo recommends getting rid of the paper items you don’t need in order to declutter, especially if they can be found online (e.g., bank statements, credit card bills, etc.).
Just as those takeout menus can overflow your junk drawer, so can tax documents. If you’re doing your taxes sans CPA, prepare for something similar to Harry Potter’s thousands of Hogwarts letters ambushing the Dursley’s living room. Freelancers might have multiple 1099s, and then there’s the 1095-A and maybe a 1098… the list goes on. CPAs can help take care of the physical (and mental) clutter by organizing the documents you need and filing them efficiently.
They make sure everything has its place.
Kondo is a big proponent of categorizing items so that everything has a place of its own and is easily found. Similarly, CPAs help clients categorize their finances. Whether you’re starting a college fund for your newborn baby, investing in your 401(k) or launching a small business, a CPA can help you budget for each goal and separate the money accordingly.
If you don’t have a CPA helping you with your finances, I encourage you to get one so they can help you rise above all that clutter. For more information on how to find a CPA near you, check out #CPApowered’s Find-a-CPA tool.
Samantha Delgado, Manager – Communications, PR & Corporate Responsibility, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
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Originally published by AICPA.org