Advising & Accounting Services
Real advisory and accounting for real businesses.
Eckstein Advisory is an advisory-first, compliance-second accounting firm. My primary goal is to help you increase profit, fix cash flow, create business strategy, and build your personal wealth. Then, I’ll take care of your tax compliance to keep the IRS off your back.
(Note: I only handle tax compliance and accounting for legacy and advisory clients. Exceptions on a case-by-case basis for micro-businesses.)
Table of Contents:
Here’s a high level look at what you get as a Advising & Accounting client
Advising & Accountability
Monthly meetings – 60min Zoom call to discuss your business and set monthly action items
Weekly accountability – 15min Zoom call to check in on your progress
Unlimited access – available by phone, email, and Slack
(Note: Too much? There’s also Advising Lite – 1 meeting and 1 accountability call per month with limited access.)
Tax returns – Business and personal tax returns
Annual tax planning – A year-end checkup to make sure you’re on track
Reasonable compensation study – figure out how much to pay yourself (for S-corps)
Capture every deduction – properly categorized transactions so you don’t miss a single deduction
Monthly Profit & Loss – monthly P&Ls to review your finances
Cloud software – view your accounting from anywhere
Mike is an extremely attentive and prompt accountant. Extremely personable. I use Mike for all my business accounting and I can always expect a great job.
The Process & Details
Everything you want to know about the process
Step Zero: Intro call and proposal
1, Intro call
I want you to be totally comfortable before moving forward so before getting started, we’ll hop on a 45-min intro call.
You can ask me (almost) anything including questions about any business problems that you’re currently facing, about the Advisory & Accounting services, and/or about my business. I just won’t answer questions about other clients or give tax, legal, or financial advice (because that would be irresponsible).
This isn’t a sales call. I don’t really do sales calls. I just want to answer your questions, ask a few of my own, and find out if we’re a good fit. (And, to be too honest, business is good. I don’t have to hard-sell to make rent.)
At the end of our call, I’ll ask you to send me last year’s tax returns (more if you have them) and give me access to your accounting records. I look at these for all incoming clients, even if you’re only interested in advisory services.
Your tax returns and accounting give me a better understanding of your business, financial processes, and overall financial health. For potential tax compliance and/or accounting clients, they also help me figure out how complex your situation is and how much work it’ll be so I can accurately quote you a price.
(Note: If I think you’re outright lying on your tax return or in your accounting, I’m going to politely refuse to work with you. I only work with honest business owners.)
After all that, we’ll jump on a 30-min call to go over the proposal and answer any final you may have. If everything is good, you’ll sign the proposal and I’ll send you an invoice at the end of our call then we’ll move on to onboarding.
Step One: Onboarding call and goal setting
During your onboarding call, we’ll deep dive into your business and set short-term (less than 3 months), year-long (12 months), and long-long-term (retirement) goals.
We’ll discuss your:
- current revenue & profit
- current financial processes
- current cash flow
- current progress towards goals
- review application answers
- financial goals (how much you want to earn)
- personal goals (what will make you feel accomplished)
- business goals (how big you want to grow)
- retirement goals (when and where you want to retire)
- exchange private contact info
- set up Slack access
- set recurring monthly advising meetings
- set recurring weekly accountability calls
- agree on the first set of action items
Step Two: Monthly advising
I’m your advisor, mentor, and sounding board. When you become a client, you’ll never have to guess about your business or go through it alone again.
Every month, we’ll have a scheduled recurring meeting to discuss your business, finances, and goals. Tell me what you’ve been struggling with since we last spoke and I’ll give you highly, actionable advice. At the end of our call, we’ll agree on a new set of action items for you to complete by our next monthly call.
I’m always available to discuss your finance, strategy, and business questions. If you have a quick question you can reach me by phone, email, and Slack. Shoot me your question and I’ll get back to you within a few hours. If you call, leave me a voicemail (I’m on the phone a lot).
If you’re very confused and need more help, you’ll have access to my private calendar (with greater availability) to schedule a meeting.
Step Three: Weekly accountability
Ideas are cheap, execution is everything. Even the best plan in the world isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, if it’s never implemented. That’s why I think regular accountability is just as important as great advice.
Every week, we’ll have a scheduled recurring 15 minute Zoom call to check on your progress with your action items and towards your goals. If you’re making good progress, we might add a new action item or tweak your current ones. If you’re slacking, I’ll a kick in the butt and a push in the right direction.
(Optional) Need extra motivation? Put your money where your mouth is. We’ll set up a challenge. Complete your action items within a certain timeframe or pay an agreed upon penalty.
Michael is great. I just started going to him and he gets the job done, plain and simple. Doesn’t over-complicate things and makes sure his clients understand what is going. Great prices as well. I highly recommend him.
Step Four: Monthly accounting
Your monthly accounting is your business’s personalized financial data. It’s crucial to running your business and making educated decisions.
You have two options for your monthly accounting: 1) you can manage it yourself or 2) you can outsource it to me and make it my problem.
When managing it yourself, you can either find and hire your own bookkeeper or do-it-yourself. Either way, you should take it seriously. That means finding a really great bookkeeper or dedicating the time to completeing it yourself each month and, not filing an extension then cramming a year’s worth of accounting in August before the deadline. That last method isn’t doing anyone any favors.
When outsourcing it to me, I’ll either handle it in-house (aka do it myself) or find a trusted bookkeeping firm to complete it. I’ll make sure to correctly capture every expense so you get every deduction, we’ll have monthly P&Ls to review during our adivising calls, and I’ll use cutting-edge cloud software so you always have access to your accounting.
I’ll also train you on the aspects of the software you need to know. That’s mainly the invoicing dashboard, but I’ll also give you a quick overview of the rest of the software so you know what’s going on.
Step Five: Annual tax compliance and planning
Let’s call it what it is, you’re probablyyy here because you need a new tax accountant and were tired of the same old, bare-minimum service you were getting. In that case, I’m more than happy to handle the IRS.
But, if you’re happy with your tax guy (or gal) and are just looking for a business advisor, then say no more, we’ll just focus on advisory work.
1. Spring tax filing
In the spring, we’ll get your annual business and personal tax returns filed. If you’re missing documents for either your business or personal tax returns, we’ll request a filing extension so you have plenty of time to collect your paperwork.
When your tax returns are finalized, signed, and filed, I’ll also calculate your quarterly tax estimates for the upcoming year. These quarterly tax estimates will keep you safe from any underpayment penalties and lessen the April tax surprise (and, if you’re growing, there’ll always be a bit of a surprise).
2. Fall tax planning
In the fall, we’ll take a hard look at your numbers and estimated taxes.
We’ll review your:
- year-to-date profit
- profit distributions
- retirement contributions
- quarterly tax estimates
And, look for any ways to reduce your taxes. That usually means making sure you’re properly reimbursing valid expenses, contributing to tax-qualified retirement accounts, and making any end-of-year purchases that you need.
(Note: I’m not going to suggest any gray-area tax loopholes or take unreasonable positions on your tax return. My goal is to reduce your tax burden, not get you blown out of the water during an audit. If you want an accountant to take unethical positions (aka deduct grossly inflated expenses or set up illegal tax plans), then I’m not your guy.)
1. Business tax return (S-corporations, C-corporations, partnerships, SMLLCs, sole proprietorships)
2. Personal tax return
3. Annual reasonable compensation study
S-corporations are required to pay owner-employees wages/salary. Many accountants pick a number out of thin air. I use software and a wage database to create a Reasonable Compensation Study to give us a more accurate figure. The Study also creates a more defensible position, if the IRS ever audits your reasonable compensation.
4. Payroll setup (for businesses that need to run payroll but haven’t set it up yet)
What isn’t included
1. Amended tax returns
2. Audit representation (Although, I’ll typically defend audits that I think were my fault)
3. Fixing your DIY accounting records
4. Any major (major) differences from when you sign up (for example, you sign on with a simple return, but it turns out you have multiple foreign bank accounts and own a rental property in Kansas)
5. Complicated tax projections
Having Michael to work on your tax return is a pure pleasure. He is very professional, kind, understanding, patient and above all knowledgeable in his field. His services are excellent and I am gladly recommending him while looking forward to be his customer in the future. Rarely one can find such a down to earth person filled with humbleness and readiness to help. All the best to you Michael.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
30-day 100% Money-back Guarantee
I’m so sure I’ll provide at least one piece of good, high-value advice and you’ll get your money’s worth that I have a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee. If you feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth, just let me know in the first 30 days and I’ll process the refund right there.
And, this isn’t a ‘minus the processing fees’ money-back guarantee or a ‘dodge your emails until you’re forced to get a chargeback’ money-back guarantee. But, a 100% no bullshit, money-back guarantee.
What kind of clients do you work with?
I predominately work with digital and creative agencies (or freelancers). My clients all have a few things in common:
- they care about the quality of their work and their employees
- they’re ambitious and want to grow
- they’re open-minded, adaptable, and willing to implement new ideas
- they have under 15 employees
- their total revenue is less than $10 million per year
They can also honestly answer YES to these two questions:
- Do you want to do better?
- Are you willing to feel the discomfort of putting in more effort and trying new things that will feel weird and different and won’t work right away?
If that doesn’t describe you, I may not be a good fit for your business.
Will this fix my business?
Not in and of itself, no. All the advice and accountability in the world can’t replace hard work (or working capital). You need to implement it and make the necessary changes in your business. That said, I’ll try my hardest to set you up for success with high-quality, actionable advice. (I despise unactionable advice. That’s why my weekly emails include action items at the end.)
How much does it cost?
I’m supposed to hide my prices until we’re on the discovery call so I can handle your objections in real-time. But, I hate that. It’s dumb. So, here are my prices.
Pricing is broken down into three sections: advising & accountability, tax compliance, and monthly accounting. Minimum 12 month term.
Advising & Accountability: $500/m
Advising & Accountability Lite: $200/m
Tax compliance (sole propietor & SMLLC): $650
Tax compliance (Corporation & Partnership, including reasonable compensation study): $1,650 + $250/partner
Tax compliance (Personal): $300
Tax compliance (Payroll setup): $350
Monthly accounting: $200/m
What affects pricing:
Now, I could lie and say, “My pricing stems from a proprietary pricing methodology that’s based on how much value I provide during our engagement.” Or, make up some other fairy tale. Instead, I’ll be 100% transparent.
Advising & Accountability pricing is roughly based on your gross revenue. Smaller businesses generally have simpler questions and are less demanding. Larger businesses tend to have more complicated questions and need more help with key decisions.
To keep things simple, Advising & Accountability is pegged at roughly 1.5% of gross revenue, and the lite plan is pegged at around 0.5% of gross revenue.
Tax compliance pricing is based on the complexity of your tax returns. For business tax returns, that’s usually a factor of which & how many states you operate in, your gross revenue, and how many partners are in your business. For personal tax returns, that’s usually based on your investments (eg stock market, real estate, etc), which major tax credits you’re eligible for, and any major life changes (eg moving states, newborns, etc).
Monthly accounting pricing is based on what I’m charged by my trusted accounting vendors. Simpler businesses with simpler accounting needs will start at $200/m and more complex business with a need for app integrations will start at $400/m. I don’t mark up their fees. You pay exactly what you’d pay if you approached them yourself.
How do I pay?
When you agree to the proposal, I’ll send you an initial invoice which is payable by automatic ACH (bank transfer). Then, every month on the same day, I’ll automatically withdraw that month’s payment.
I have more questions…
Shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll get back to you in a day or three.
Schedule a free Intro Call
Does my Advising & Accounting program sound good to you? Then, schedule a discovery call. You can ask me any questions you may still have. I’ll ask some of my own. Then, if you seem like a good fit, I’ll send you a proposal. Choose a time that works for you.
Talk to Michael
- high-quality, actionable advice
- weekly accountability to keep you on track
- stress-free tax compliance
- unlimited direct access
No hard-selling. Promise.
How the Intro Call works
Schedule a call and answer the pre-call survey.
We’ll hop on a call and I’ll answer your questions about me, my accounting firm, and my process.
I’ll send you a proposal and we’ll get rolling.