How to Find a Certified Public Accountant for Your Small Business

Last week we discussed three practices to keep in mind during the 2014 tax season.

Our number one tip was to let a professional handle your taxes, but perhaps you are now wondering how to find the right accountant for your business. We put together some important tips to help you select the best CPA for your business.

1. Determine Your Needs
Are you looking for a seasoned professional to help review your financials every month, or perhaps just at the end of the year? Do you need small business bookkeeping, consulting services, or an individual tax issue? Figure out exactly what you need and seek out a CPA that fits your preferences.

2. Meet With Multiple CPAs
After compiling a list of CPA’s that match your qualifications, meet with each one personally to find out if they are a good fit. You need a CPA that understands both you and your business. A CPA’s advice can go unheeded if they can’t communicate effectively with you.

3. Check Qualifications and Ask for References
Always get several references from the accountant’s current clients. Clients that are similar to your business can highlight his strengths and weaknesses and help you determine your compatibility. Ask if they’re affiliated with a professional organization and always check their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).

4. Determine Their Service Fees
Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants maintains a listing of CPA’s that have specialized credentials, and Intuit TurboTax also offers a new service called CPA Select which provides a list of affiliated CPA’s in your area.

Choosing a CPA can feel like a daunting prospect, but putting effort in to the selection process can help you save both time and money.

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