When you’re searching for a Certified Public Accountant, whether for your small business or your personal finances, you’ll want to find a professional whose expertise is best suited to your specific situation. All CPAs must meet state licensing requirements and hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, as well as meet experience requirements and a Uniform CPA Examination certification.
While having the CPA credential might show an accountant who is committed to higher standards, you will want to do additional research so you can determine which accountant’s skills best match your situation.
If you’re looking for a CPA to handle your business finances, look for a firm or individual that has experience in working with similar businesses in your industry. Working with certain types of businesses may be more complex than others, so check with your prospective accountant about those industry standards.
Also ask what size of businesses the CPA is accustomed to working with so he or she can provide you with adequate service. CPAs with expertise in individual finances or filing individual tax returns may not have the same experience in working with a small business.
Fees and Cost
Like with every professional service, cost should be taken into account when choosing a CPA. After all, by choosing an accountant, you’re making an investment in your business’ well-being. Ask if the firm or individual bills by the hour or at a fixed service charge. This can help you find the option that fits within your budget and can offer you the best value.
Finding the best CPA may require some research and interviews. Much like a job interview, you’ll want to inquire about your prospective candidate’s training, qualifications and professional references. Most likely, a CPA can provide you with reviews or references from previous clients, ideally from companies that compare to your business. Check online reviews or the Better Business Bureau for additional references.
Ask yourself what you need the accountant to do for you, and be sure the CPA you’re considering can provide you with the services you need. Most accountants will offer bookkeeping, tax preparation and financial planning services, so be sure to ask if an accounting firm can handle all of your business needs before you decide to do business with them.
Having a good working relationship with your CPA is crucial. Typically, deciding to work with an accountant means establishing a long-term relationship. This is a person or office who will have access to your business’ finances and other confidential details. Be sure you find someone you can trust and someone who communicates effectively. Being able to get along well with your CPA will go a long way. Find out how accessible the accountant will be, and be sure you will be able to reach him or her in an emergency.