Hiring a CPA is an important step in building a successful business. In this post, we offer 3 quick tips for hiring a CPA.
Trust Is Key
When hiring a certified public accountant (CPA), it is important to make sure that you are hiring someone you trust. The most common mistake that people make when they are hiring CPAs is they assume that a CPA strictly works with numbers and mathematics only, when in fact there is much more to it than that.
CPAs often act as trusted advisors to individuals, startups and small business owners. They look at your business and personal income, expenses and taxes, review client portfolios, and assess various aspects of business growth and development such as:
- business plans;
- internal controls; and
- payroll and financial systems.
When you are a business owner, you should consider your CPA a part of your management team.
Before you hire a CPA, ask friends, family and colleagues who they would recommend. Check online and industry directories as well as accountant websites. Look for a CPA who has a well organized and put together website with lots of easy-to-find and understand information. You don’t want to hire a CPA to help organize your business when it appears as though they can’t keep their own in good order.
Testimonials, accessible contact information and/or forms and actual names of people who work at a CPA firm are all positive signs.
Before you decide on any one CPA, be prepared to narrow down your choices to a few first. Ask questions about their education, work experience, industry associations, services, customers and best practices. Ask things like:
- Have they passed a national CPA exam?
- Are licensed to practice in your state?
- What professional organizations does he or she belong to?
- Do they specialize?
- Who are their existing customers?
- How do they prefer to communicate with you?
- Will you be working with them directly or with a subordinate?
- What experience have they had in dealing with the IRS?
The CPA that you hire should be someone that you feel comfortable sharing private financial information with. He or she should be able to demonstrate personalized attention to detail for the specific financial needs and goals that you have in mind. Using their background, they should be able to provide you with a clear visual plan for your finances as well as take the time to explain things that you may not fully understand.
It may take a little ‘leg work’ at first, but using these 3 quick tips for hiring a CPA will be worth it in the long run! If you have questions or other suggestions, please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.