Hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) can offer many benefits beyond help with filing your taxes every year. CPAs can help answer financial questions that you may have and use their knowledge and expertise to save you more money than you would by doing your own taxes. Businesses have unique tax needs. Thankfully, there are CPAs who are specialized in particular areas and can provide indispensable strategies. If you’re ready to help from a tax professional, learn more about how to get a CPA below.
What To Look For In A CPA
Once you’ve decided to hire a CPA, you need to find one that will meet your needs. Choosing the CPA is very important, because they will be entrusted with your financials and, if necessary, will represent you in the case of an IRS audit. Below, we’ve compiled important characteristics that are important to look for when hiring a CPA.
Transparency is particularly important when it comes to hiring the right CPA. They should be able to go beyond simply being knowledgeable about various tax codes and tax laws. A good CPA will be prepared to talk about your specific personal or business situation.
They should be up-front and willing to talk about your tax issues and be able to discuss it openly. That characteristic will go a long way to getting you the right answers so you can make the best decisions for your situation.
Years Of Experience
Experience is certainly an important factor as well. Someone who’s been in the industry for a long time will be more likely to have learned more through that experience. However, you also have to weigh that experience with whether the CPA has the right experience to meet your needs.
For example, a firm that works primarily with small business owners is probably not the right fit for a large corporation’s tax needs. A small business that is netting $10 million in revenue per year is going to need more than a one-man accounting operation as well.
Focus on finding a CPA that is tailored towards your business situation, whether that involves being experienced in financial planning, risk assessment, or business/personal tax situations. If you’re not sure whether a certain CPA is right for you, ask them more about their professional experience and how they would be able to use it to address your needs. A CPA that you are considering hiring may be able to provide referrals from clients who have worked with them if you aren’t sure if they’re the right fit.
Ability To Translate Tax Jargon
A common reason that people hire CPAs is to take the confusing language of tax and interpret what it means. CPAs can translate tax jargon into everyday terminology for a person who’s not versed in tax knowledge. While you are most likely hiring a CPA for their expertise and capability to address your situation, they should be able to explain it to you standard tax terminology to you.
Working with a CPA should be just like working with a professional in other fields. Just as a doctor would explain to you what you are experiencing and the steps you should take when you are sick, or as a mechanic would explain their findings about the problems with your car. Your CPA should provide you with similar counsel in plain English so that you can understand and properly make decisions.
Sets Clear Expectations
A CPA doesn’t have full control over your financial health or that of your business. This is important to understand before hiring a CPA. They can help you with certain areas, but the ultimate success of your financial situation isn’t in their hands. If a CPA that you are considering seems to be making these types of promises, they are probably not right for you.
At the same time, it’s important that, before hiring a CPA, you talk about what your expectations are. Through this conversation, you should feel like you can trust them to deliver on these promises. When consulting with CPAs, they should be able to clearly outline what their rates are for their services. You should understand how their fee structure works and have an estimate of what the services you will need will cost.
How To Acquire A CPA
Make sure that you thoroughly interview a potential CPA when deciding which to hire. Clearly set your expectations and what services you are looking for them to provide you with. Make sure to ask them questions about their experience and how they see themselves being able to help you with your needs. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for references to learn more about them before making a decision.