There's certainly no limit to the reasons a business may seek out the assistance of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Sure, they're known for handling tax concerns, but the truth is that accountants can be an integral part of any successful business, handling matters far beyond annual tax returns. Organizations of every type and size utilize CPAs for everything from financial planning to more involved management roles within the company, and selecting the right individual or firm for the needs and demands of your particular business is not a task that should be taken lightly.
Regardless of the primary motivation for enlisting their aid, here are a few things to consider when choosing a CPA.
Look For A CPA With Experience In Assisting Businesses Like Yours
As with any important professional position, experience should play a key role in your decision of what to work with. It's important that any accountant you are considering not only has a general accounting experience, but is also knowledgeable in the particular field or fields for which you are seeking help.
When you meet with prospective CPAs, be prepared to explain exactly what services you will require and then ask about their qualifications in those particular areas. Even the most highly skilled, frequently recommended individual may not be the right fit for your particular needs, so it's important to ensure that both parties are fully aware of how the relationship will work and the responsibilities that will be placed on the accountant who is everally hired.
Be Sure To Fully Understand The Business Relationship
To ensure that you are setting both your business and your new accountant up for success, it's vital to understand exactly how the professional relationship will be handled. Before making your final choice, be sure you know the answers to each of these questions.
* Are you hiring an individual or a firm? – One is not necessarily better than the other, but it's important that you recognize whether your accounting and / or consulting will be governed by one person or by a group of individuals. Independent accountants can sometimes offer more personal service, but may become overwhelmed during busier times of year like the tax season. Meanwhile, larger accounting firms may have more resources at their disposal but may not be able to offer the one-on-one interaction you're looking for. However, every situation is different so be sure to find out what type of service you can expect.
* Who will be doing the actual work? – Is the person you're meeting with during the initial interview process the same person who you'll be interacting with if you decide to hire that particular firm? It's important to speak directly with the individual who will be handling your affairs to ensure you'll be able to easily work together moving forward.
* How will future meetings and communications be handled? – The logistical details of hiring an outside firm or individual are an important consideration. Be sure to establish the preferred method of communication between your business and your accountant and discuss what type of meetings will need to take place and when they might be scheduled.
* What are the fees and what is included? – Obviously you'll want to clearly establish and understand the billing procedure of any perspective CPA. Smaller firms or individuals tend to be less expensive, but it's important to consider what is and is not included in their suite of services to determine if they'll be able to offer everything you need at their quoted price.
Do not Hesitate To Interview Multiple Accountants
It may be tempting to simply hire the first candidate who sees qualified to do the job, but a certain amount of perspective can be an essential tool when choosing the best accountant for your particular business. At times, the only way to fully appreciate the differences between the offerings of various CPAs is to compare them to what other individuals or firms can provide. You should interview between three and five CPAs before making your final decision. This extra bit of diligence, along with the guidelines outlined above, will help ensure a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.