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Finding the Right CPA for You

February 3, 2013

Having the right CPA can help you reduce your business costs right off the bat, from streamlining expenses, to reducing tax debt, the right CPA is a powerful partner that most businesses should never neglect. With over 700,000 CPAs registered with the IRS, find the right one can be a daunting task.

How to find a CPA

Referral – simply asking friends, family and colleagues to who they recommend as a CPA might be the perfect first step.  However, just because your friend has a CPA handle their personal income tax filings, doesn’t mean that CPA is experienced with large or complicated businesses. Likewise, there is no reason to pay the rates of a CPA firm whose primary business fraud investigation or corporate filings, when all you need is some simple advice.

You can also check the listings with The American Institute of CPAs and the National Society of Accountants.  Looking through the professionals listed on these sites will let you know where their specialties lie, what type of experience they have and let you match them to your needs. This will give you some place to start. From here, you can talk with them further and meet with the ones you think have the special talents you need.

Hiring a CPA

When you have two or three good choices, the next step is conducting an interview.  After all , a good CPA is working FOR you and is part of YOUR team.  They need to be a good fit, not just in experience and credentials but also personality and processes.

Ask Questions to understand the process, the service and the person.  Below are just a few examples of information you should know about your CPA before shaking hands and turning over your records.

  1.  Will I be working directly with you, or will my account be assigned to someone else?
  2. What is your accounting specialty and why is that a good fit for me?
  3. What CPA or Accounting Members do you hold and are you current?
  4. How and how often will you be communicating with me?
  5. What are steps I can take to give you what you need to handle my account?
  6. Will I get printed/email reports or verbal updates on the progress of my tax filings?
  7. What type of security does your office maintain to protect my information?
  8. Who are some of your other clients?
  9. Can you provide references?
  10. What type of training do you engage in each year?
  11. Do you have full-time, year round availability or only during tax season?
  12. How do you calculate fees? Will I be charged for every phone discussion or the reading of an email?
  13. What if I am not happy with your service?
  14. Do you charge based on the size of my return or a flat fee? Note: charging based on the size of a return can indicate a CPA who is not operating within the ethical standards of the industry.
  15. What forms of payment do you take and when do you expect payment from me?

This is just a short list of the things you should know about your CPA. At www.kathyegancpa.com we have a friendly, professional team who is ready to talk to you about your tax and accounting needs.  Give us a call to set up your initial consultation.


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