I'm not sure what the name of the service or person(s) I'm looking for, so I'm asking here hoping I can find the right thing to search for, and maybe even some recommendations.
We need someone we can hand our taxes to in their entirety and know they'll be taken care of. Accountants and bookkeepers so far have pushed most of the maintenance back on us. We're buried in work, and need to focus on it. We need to have the entire tax problem taken off our hands, right down to "We can't find this document, we'll do what's necessary to obtain a new copy" rather than putting it back on us.
Ideally they'd be able to handle as much as possible electronically and get things automated. Everything tax-related - payroll, quarterly filings, and hunting down what's necessary to get it done. If they need to work with an accountant or bookkeeper that's fine.
So, what sort of service provider is that? We're generally looking for something we can pay for on a monthly basis or hourly - we unfortunately aren't big enough to hire a full role for this (it's a 2-person company).
Accountants are professionals and whilst they will pick up your dry cleaning if you pay enough they really would rather not and you will find it more cost effective getting someone else to do this.
I've been puzzled before by the difficulty of being able to 'outsource' the accounts in a way that you don't have to worry about it any more and come to the conclusion that you have to accept that you as the business owner/ceo/whatever will always have some involvement. Basically its the same as with other aspects of management - delegation does not mean abdication. What you need is a bookkeeper. They do the day to day (or month to month) admin/organising/data entry etc and present everything in an organised format to your accountant in one go at year end.
Some accountants will have bookkeepers on staff or be able to reccomend one and there is an advantage here that they will know how each others work. However, there is also some advantage in keeping them independent as that will provide a degree of quality assurance in checking each others work.l
Accountants are like lawyers, and they'll do anything you want, even pick up your dry cleaning, as long as you pay their hourly fee.
It is a trade-off, as some people want to pay less fees and do lots of work, while some don't mind paying high fees, but want no work.
Any decent accountant will do all the work for you, as long as you pay, so if yours won't, maybe look for another one.
Being an accountant myself, I feel the reasons for failure in most of the case are incomplete communication, sharing of information and wrong selection of candidates.
I feel you can find a suitable accountant on Elance which contains many such job posting.
There are a few options for managing the payroll issues.
One is a payroll service, there Administrative Service Organizations (ASO), Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) that all assume differing levels of liability and compliance. Your goal should be to avoid hiring a W-2 employee to do these things. Outsource the function, but retain oversight.
Many companies do this sort of work on an outsourced basis. My own accountant uses a payroll service to manage payroll, deductions, monthly and quarterly payroll tax filings, and so forth - it's just not worth doing it yourself for a small company. You didn't mention your exact size, but if it's 10 or less or even 20 or less, you should consider it. Search for "Payroll processing name-of-your-location" or "online payroll name-of-your-location" and see what comes up.