What To Look for When Selecting a CPA

As income tax filing season draws nearer many small business owners have began looking for an accountant or other tax professional to file their tax return.

Searching for a certified public accountant (CPA) should be done long before the beginning of tax season. Small business owners have found that when accountants are snowed under with work in March and April, it's almost impossible for them to help new clients.

But despite the delay, when looking for a CPA there are some important factors you need to consider.

Find a professional who you feel comfortable working with, and who knows your line of work and the state of your personal finances.

It is important to understand that you are putting everything in someone else's hand, so it's very important who you choose to work with.

Choosing a good accountant who can satisfy your needs is not easy, but it can be done. You can start by looking for referrals from other business-people who are in the same profession as you. For example, if you own a small retail store, your tax concerns would be very much different from a doctor's, so what you'll look for is an accountant with both knowledge and experience in your field.

The next step after getting the names of the referrals is to interview them. And since your financial security and assets are at stake, he said it's ok to ask probing questions about an accountant's background and experience.

It would be in your best interest to ask for references as well. This will let you know how satisfied a customer is with the service and how well an accountant works with his or her clients.

Since there are small businesses that seek a variety of services from a CPA, it's important to discuss fees, and the services you can expect. Find out if you are expected to pay by the hour or one lump sum for certain services.

Gone are the days when a CPA was just there to do taxes. They're using their resources to not only prepare tax, but also to advise business-people on their business. A CPA should be willing to listen and have an interest in knowing what's happening in the lives of their clients, and their business.

Many people are looking for an accountant who will meet with them often, and keep abreast of what's going on in their business. For example, getting a reminder that it's time to send in the numbers for your end-end projection.

Then there are others who are looking for a CPA who will handle their books and records for them.

Gada warns business owners who are interviewing CPAs to be aware of the what-ifs. For example, will the CPA handle the audit for you if you're audited by the IRS or state or local tax authorities?

A CPA (http://accentaccounting.net) should also be asking questions during the initial meeting. It shows that he or she has the best interest of the client. Questions like, what areas do you need help in? Corporate taxes, individual taxes, strategic planning, estate planning, business succession show that the CPA is interested in meeting the needs of the client.

Accountants who may not know how to do something, but are willing to turn to another CPA or professional for help are strongly recommended.

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