As tax season approaches, you may find yourself in need of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Therefore, we’ve compiled some important factors to consider when evaluating the right CPA or CPA firm for you and your business. Don’t wait until the last minute to start your CPA search; once February arrives, they enter the zone of very limited availability!
1. Location: Where is their office located? You don’t want to be forced to travel an hour for a twenty-minute meeting. However, some CPAs offer sophisticated virtual services that make in-person meetings unnecessary. A distance CPA who is highly specialized in your industry may be a better choice than one who happens to work across the hall, so this is only one factor to consider.
2. Suitability: Does the CPA work primarily with individuals, businesses, or both. You want a CPA with the ability and knowledge to meet your specific needs. If you operate a restaurant, for example, select a CPA who is familiar with your industry.
3. Comfortable: You want to be sure you are comfortable with the CPA you choose as they will be privy to the financial components of your life and business. If you’re making a selection because of a specific professional, be sure to confirm that it is that person who will be working on your matters and not an associate from the firm.
4. Compensation: Be sure to ask how the CPA expects to be compensated. Some CPAs may charge a flat fee, while others charge a fee based upon a percentage of your tax return. If you will need hourly billed advisory services, ask about rates and for estimates.
5. Reputation: Make sure you are doing your due diligence and inquiring about the CPA’s reputation. If they have been referred to you, inquire as to why they come recommended. Has the referral source used them before, or are they getting a form of compensation for the referral? It’s ok to ask around.
6. Communication: Make sure you can understand what your prospective CPA is telling you. If you are constantly having issues understanding their advice, ask them to explain things in your preferred style, or find someone that better meets your needs.
7. Firm Size & Expertise: Whether you wish to hire a CPA from a large firm, or a solo practice, be sure they have the skillset and resources to meet your needs. For example, if you’re looking to sell your business in the next five years, make sure the CPA has experience with sale transactions.
8. Ask Questions: Go ahead and ask some basic questions when interviewing the prospective new CPA. If they always seem too unsure or nervous about their answers, then it is time to move on to the next interview.
9. Unbiased Advice: If you have partners or investors, and the CPA also does their personal taxes or is the CPA for their other businesses, you may want to find a “new” CPA that doesn’t have strong ties that could give a partner or investor too much influence.
And remember, when interviewing CPAs, you always have the option of having your business attorney participate and ask questions necessary to ascertain a level of competence.
Not sure where to start? Contact us so that we may help you find the right fit.
This Blog was written by Hunter Business Law’s Advanced Certified Paralegal, Katelyn J. Dougherty.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for educational purposes only and does not offer nor substitute legal advice. Additionally, this blog does not establish an attorney-client relationship and is not for advertising or solicitation purposes. Any of the content contained herein shall not be used to make any decision without first consulting an attorney. The hiring of an attorney is an important decision not to be based on advertisements or blogs. Hunter Business Law expressly disclaims any and all liability in regard to any actions, or lack thereof, based on any contents of this blog.