While some business owners prefer to take on the daunting task of filing their own taxes, some small business owners will find that they need the services of a certified public accountant (CPA). Small businesses may only call upon a CPA to prepare their taxes, but a CPA can do much more, by reducing your risk of financial errors and help your company build its value and your wealth. To aid in your search of finding the right CPA for your small business, PowerSites has put together an outline of things to do to find a CPA that’s a perfect match to the needs of your business.
What Your Business Needs
Some businesses seek out experienced financial advisors that will review their business books every month while other businesses only need an accountant to complete year-end financials and tax returns. Just like doctors, certified public accountants also specialize in specific areas. Some specialize in specific industries, while others may specialize based on business size. You also have to consider whether you want your bookkeeping done in-house, or remotely. There are other variables to consider as well, such as whether or not you want your accounting firm to also provide consulting services. It’s a good idea for you to create a list of what you seek in an accounting firm, so that when you begin screening candidate accounting firms you can just check off each item on your list that matches. This will help you keep track of what you liked about each accounting firm, and help you to make a knowledgeable decision at the end of your interviews.
Ask for Referrals
To make your search easier, ask professional associates that you know and trust if they can recommend an accounting firm to you. It is likely that they will have someone to recommend. Sure, you can do an Internet search, but personal recommendations are usually a more reliable method of inviting a firm to sit down for and tell you why you should give them your business.
Certainly, a referral from someone you know will carry a lot of weight— but if you do not interview several accounting firms, you have not done your due diligence. The greatest accountant on earth does you no good unless you and the CPA can communicate. During your search, ascertain the candidate firm’s billing practices. If they charge you for five-minute phone conversation, you may not make that call and a poor decision might result. Ask the company how many small businesses like yours are clients and then ask for names to call as references.
No matter how you find the accounting firm you want to hire always check the references you have been given. Ask your peers how much they value the advice given to them by the CPA, how good is the firm about returning phone calls. Ask them to brief you on the firm/CPA’s weaknesses as well as strengths.
Check the AICPA Website
If you’re looking for a CPA with a specialized skill-set and credentials, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants allows you to search a database of CPA’s, so you can find one with the required skills that you’re looking for.