So you have reached the point where you are ready to hire a certified public accountant (CPA) to provide you tax services on certain financial aspects of your life. The first thing you need to realize when you start looking for a CPA is that not all of them are equal. CPAs usually have expertise in differing areas of accounting, and some are better than others in specific areas. There are steps you can take and various traits to look for to ensure that you find a CPA that is good, and what they do is fit for you and your specific situation.
- Do your research – Ask family, friend and other professionals your work with if they work with a CPA and if they can recommend that to you. Determine the types of experiences they have had with this CPA and if they can help you with your specific needs. It is also wise to conduct an internet search for CPAs in your area. Check out various firm websites. Also check for complaints online or with the Better Business Bureau.
- Meet with more than one CPA – Once you have narrowed your search to two or three, ensure that you take time to meet each potential CPA in person or at least talk on the phone with each of them before you make any decisions.
- Experience – Ask the CPA about their personal experience in dealing with the specific services that you are seeking. Also ask if they specialize in any specific areas. If they are young, ask about their education and experience as well as their level of experience in general. Depending on the services that you are looking for the CPA to give, a younger CPA may be able to give them to you at a fraction of the cost of a more senior member.
- Comfort level – Ensure that you are comfortable communicating personal financial details to the CPA; you would not want to withhold any details that the CPA may need to effectively help you. Also make sure that the CPA communicates with you in a way that you understand and feel comfortable with rather than speaking in technical industry jargon.
- Cost – Ask what their fees are and how much the services you are seeking usually cost. Compare the cost of every CPA you meet. However, do not make a decision solely based on cost.
- IRS assistance – Ask if the CPA will be willing to work with you if the Internal Revenue Service comes knowing at your door. The answer should be ‘Yes.’
- Company capabilities – Ask how large the firm is and what their research and continuing education capabilities are. You want to make sure you are choosing a CPA that has the proper support structure to keep the CPA current on all changes in the laws and planning ideas of tax preparation Joplin.
CPAs are usually one of the most trusted advisors an individual will work in their lives. Even though the process of hiring one may be a bit time consuming, performing a bit of due diligence up front can pay off greatly in the long run.