Finding a good CPA for tax preparation for small business affairs can be a challenge and you may be looking for the wrong qualifications when making your final decision. Your business is your baby, so it's only natural to want to entrust it to the professionals that check all of your boxes. But, how can you do that? If you're a new business owner or have never worked with a certified public accounting firm, you may not even know where to begin or how to find a great accountant, and that's alright. We'll go over how you can find a good CPA and access a wide array of helpful services that can grow your business.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Accountant:If you are seeking help with your taxes, financial planning, small business or more, it's best to determine up front what questions you have about your business. Understand what you hope to get out of this partnership. Before conducting your research, determine what is most important to you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want help improving your cash flow?
- Am I looking for guidance applying for a loan?
- Is financial planning related to my business important?
- Does your business planning match your financial forecast
- Have you read the tax code?
- Do you have enough time to take care of all the accounting duties yourself?
- Are you sure your employees are classified correctly?
- Do you know what needs to be in a financial statement?
- Is your budget working for you?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you can benefit from hiring an accountant.
Knowing what you want and what to look for is a good start to finding get the best services available. Find out the top considerations you should have prior to finding a good CPA to work with from the professionals at Chandler & Knowles:
When to Hire a CPA?
You should hire a CPA when your concerns extend beyond tax deductions. Tax law is flexible and complicated, and the right CPA will advise on tax planning, estate/trust/gift planning, business planning, and can represent you in the event of an audit.
Tips For Selecting a CPA Firm
Some helpful tips to increase your chances for finding a CPA that fits your needs include:
Referrals should be your starting point. These days they can come in a variety of forms, such as online reviews. Checking places such as Google or even Facebook for reviews could go a long way to helping you begin your search at the very beginning or helping solidify your own opinion. Hearing what their other clients have to say can make or break a decision. Of course, traditional word-of-mouth is an option you should consider as well, if it's applicable. Consult other businesses to see which firms they use, and see if they can refer you to a CPA they're comfortable and happy with.
Do Your Research
This should go without saying, but it's an important step when making your selection. In the first stages of conducting your research, be sure to refer to their website to get a general feel for their business and what they can provide for yours. In your research, be sure to:
- understand the difference services the firm offers
- explore the educational content and informative blogs
- read testimonials or case studies from clients they have worked with
After your initial research, reach out and ask if the firm has case studies they can provide you, or even set up an interview. Don’t be afraid to test our a firm. Set up a meeting time to get a feel for the team you’ll be working with. See if its a good fit for the needs of your business. After all, the right CPA will become a true partner for your business. They'll be advising you on decisions and helping you set goals, so ensuring that you'll both be on the same page from the start is important.
Traits Of a Good CPA
- They have your best interest at heart
- Organized and attention to detail
- Commitment to particular sectors
- Help identify risk
- Great business partner
- Good communication
- Constantly learning
You're going to be hiring somebody who is handling all of your business money. Naturally, this person has to prove that they are totally transparent and trustworthy. One of the most straightforward ways to ensure that you've found an honest, trustworthy accountant is by looking at their track record. Talk to their current and previous clients. What do they have to say about the accountant? Talk specifically to other individuals who are also business owners and have had that accountant handle their business accounting. Ask the accountant for references and do your own researching by reading reviews and testimonials online. The accountant that you hire is not only handling your business finances, but they will be the middleman between you and the law. You don't want to end up hiring someone who not only isn't honest with you, but will end up breaking the law and putting you in serious legal trouble.
2. They Have Your Best Interest at Heart
The business accountant you choose should be totally focused on you, the client. The best accountants aren't just great at dealing with numbers, but also their clients. They should strive to learn everything that they can about you (the client), your business, your sector, and the industry you work in. Without knowing all of this, they simply can't be the best accountant possible. A huge part of having your best interest at heart and being focused on you, is being easy to communicate with and very responsive. Great accountants know how to smoothly communicate with their clients and answer all of their questions.
3. Impeccable Organizational Skills And Attention-to-Detail
Accountants have to be some of the most impeccably organized people in the world. Great accountants are almost OCD about organization, time management, and unparalleled attention-to-detail. You would be hard-pressed to find an accountant with a messy desk (and if you did, you wouldn't want to hire them). Look for accountants who are organized in virtually every area of their life. If they are meticulous and make organization a top priority, they will make the organization of your business accounting a top priority as well.
4. Commitment to Particular Sectors
When it comes to business accounting, the best accountants don't spread themselves across multiple sectors. They find just one or a small handful of sectors that they are passionate about and they commit to working those areas only. You want to find an accountant who has experience doing accounting for your particular sector. Lastly, you want the accountant you hire to be on your team-long term instead of having to find a new accountant every few years. Having an accountant with experience in your sector will make it easier to secure a long-term business accountant.
5. Help Identify Risk
A good certified public accountant has the ability to go beyond and help you make the right financial decisions for your business. Other than you, the business owner, they have their eyes on all of your transactions. With the guidance of your CPA, they can ensure that you're compliant in all the areas you'll need to be, thus reducing your overall risk, and helping you sleep easier at night.
6. Great Business Partner
As an extension of your operations, your CPA is a good business partner, aiding you in multiple areas of your business such as with tax planning, bookkeeping, risk assessment, payroll and much more. These services provide great support and structure to your business's existing financial processes. By taking advantage of these ongoing services, you can expect to see a great outcome due to the consistent focus and attention. Through implementing tax planning, you can see an even greater reduction in your tax liability through strategies that work for you. Services such as payroll and bookkeeping help you as the business owner to focus on the growth of your business while leaving these aspects to trustworthy and CPA professionals.
7. Good Communication
Effective communication is a fundamental characteristic of a good accountant. The CPA and client relationship shouldn't merely be a transactional relationship. If you're a business owner especially, solid and consistent communication is a must. In order for your CPA to be an effective business partner, they shouldn't be in 'autopilot', but rather an active participant. The communication of financial information between client and CPA should be timely and regular. It's important that your accountant of choice has an efficient system in place to make this easier for you as their client.
8. Constantly Learning
Tax law is constantly changing, so it's important that your CPA partner is consistently educating themselves. New laws, taxes, and principles are being introduced all the time—so staying on top of the news is incredibly important. Though, tax law isn't the only thing that a good accountant will need to keep their eyes on. There are also constantly emerging technological trends in everyday modern life. As a business owner or otherwise busy individual, having a system that is easy to navigate and use is important. Especially if you're a business based away from your local CPA. Exchanging documents or payments are best done digitally these days, and the right CPA professionals will offer these services for their clients in order to make their lives a little less taxing.
Contact Our Team
We'd love to get to know you and your business. Get the help you need from the professionals at Chandler & Knowles CPAs and find out why we're the experts when it comes to your tax planning and preparation, financial planning, risk management, business consulting, payroll administration, and so much more.
Contact us today to make your appointment.