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Tips for Hiring a CPA for Your Small Business
Small business owners may prefer to prepare their own taxes, but any smart entrepreneur wouldn’t even dream of it. They know how tedious this job can be and how much it can steal away from time that should be spent on the business itself.
If you’re planning to hire a CPA accountant this season, there are some things you need to remember. For one, if you’re going to hire an accountant, hire well. That means you need to ask some questions before actually bringing in someone. For example, do you need for help with your cash flow? Are you applying for a loan and in need of help? Are you thinking of closing the business? These are the very first issues you have to consider before hiring an accountant. After all, unless you know what exactly your goals are, it’s impossible to know which CPA is the best for you.
In fact, it’s crucial to study your financial statement information before hiring someone. Just get an overview of the approach you’d like to take for future decisions after reviewing past financial information. As soon as you know your priorities, start looking for the perfect candidate. Ask for recommendations from peers or even family members who are also into business.
Obviously, the Internet is still your biggest resource when it comes to CPAs (and other service professionals). The American Institute of CPAs and the National Society of Accountants are only two directories and state accounting associations that you can explore. Or just do a quick online search for CPAs in your location and check out each website you’re given.
Of course, unless you have personal knowledge of the CPA you’re planning to hire, you have to ask them a few questions before taking them seriously. Here are some of the things to focus on as you interview your potential accountant:
Degrees, Professional Certification is and Training
Remember this: not all accountants are CPAs, and not all CPAs are experts in the specific service or services you need. For instance, there are financial services that require special licenses.
You need to hire a CPA who isn’t only experienced as an accountant but in the industry you work in. As you know, different businesses face various financial situations, and a specialist CPA will be able to provide the right solutions, depending on what your specific circumstances require.
Accountants can be independent practitioners or entire organizations with tons of employees. In any case, you need to know whom to talk to when you need to ask something and want updates. It’s not only important that you hire someone who is technically competent. They also need to be sensitive to your needs as a client.
Lastly, find out about their fees. Do you pay per project or on an hourly basis? Maybe a retainer for advisory services? Accountants usually charge monthly fees, depending on the specific services provided. For instance, if you only need financial statements or tax prep, you will only be paying a basic fee. For more complicated services such as business planning, you should expect a reasonably higher fee. When choosing a CPA, however, don’t make it all about the cost. If a firm is asking way lower than market rates, don’t jump at it. There’s probably a reason. Value for money is what you want.