“We like to consider our clients like family. Using a professional gives you peace of mind. Using a professional for your tax and accounting needs is more important than doing it yourself. You need to do what you do best so that we can do what we do best.”

Melissa Simmons, CPA, EA – Managing Partner, ANDRE + ASSOCIATES PC

How to choose a CPA (livingmagazine.net)ALTHOUGH YOU MIGHT BE CONSIDERING OPTING FOR A TAX PREPARER OR GENERAL ACCOUNTANT, THERE ARE PLENTY OF REASONS TO LOOK FOR A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT. CPAs are specifically qualified in tax preparation and accounting, undergoing extra education, and passing a specific certification test and yearly training to maintain licensing. As a result, CPAs can represent clients before the IRS if necessary. Plus, CPAs can do more than just your taxes. With the help of the right CPA, your business could enjoy growth opportunities you may not have considered. Improving cash flow, guidance in financial planning, and cutting unnecessary costs could help strengthen your business.

What services do you need? Not every firm or individual provides the same service packages, so you need to know your needs. Most accounting firms offer bookkeeping services, tax preparation, management consulting, and business financial planning services. However, some also provide business valuation, audit, and review services. Before interviewing potential CPAs, try to narrow down the services you want your CPA to perform for you and research what services specific firms offer.

Perhaps you will fi nd that an individual or a small, local fi rm can service your account at a lower price, or maybe you fi nd that you’re looking for additional services provided at larger firms. Realizing your needs will help you determine which route to take. Knowing your fi nancial needs includes knowing how much contact you’ll want with the individual servicing your account. Ask about the availability of the staff. When you leave a message or have a question, you want to know you can expect a timely response.

Seek recommendations from other business owners, particularly those in your industry, for CPAs. Look for CPAs who specialize in your industry or the areas you want to focus on in your financial goals. As you interview possible candidates, ask for references. Although they will likely refer you to their happiest clients, you can get an idea of how they work with clients.

Here are just some example questions you could ask references. How often do you receive reports? Does the CPA respond to your communication in a timely manner? Does the fi rm contact you about new opportunities or updates to tax laws that affect you?

Of course, you can’t forget the bottom line. How much will the services cost? Before you hire anyone, look around and compare rates —whether they are hourly or fee-based. Perhaps you will fi nd that a small company meets  your needs for a more affordable rate. However, mid-sized to large fi rms usually offer more extensive opportunities for a higher rate. Either way, ensure that whoever you pick will provide the resources you need. Make sure you interview multiple CPA candidates before hiring. With your business at stake, you want to make the right choice.

Article originally published in livingmagazine.net, January 2022 – How to choose (special edition)