Question: How can I find the most reputable, knowledgeable and ethical tax adviser? What are the best questions to ask to find the one best suited to my needs?
Answer: When evaluating bookkeepers and accountants, the professional expertise that you require (accounting, tax and/or general financial advice) will influence the type of professional that you select.
Also, as a general rule, the more accounting activities you allow a bookkeeper or accountant to perform, the higher the cost. The accounting, tax and financial management expertise required of an in-house or outside accountant depends upon several factors, including the owner's accounting knowledge, the size of the company and business activities, the accounting complexity of the business operations and tax returns, and the need for an independent CPA audit for a bank or lender.
For example, business owners often use a company bookkeeper to write checks, reconcile bank accounts, and perform other personal financial duties; however, bookkeepers generally are not qualified and do not provide financial advice on more complex and significant personal financial matters, such as SEC reporting, tax planning, stocks or other investments, or estate planning.
Although the questions to ask a when selecting a CPA or other tax practitioner are going to depend on the type of services you need, there are some common issues that should be considered.
First, it is important to establish a practitioner's credentials before you retain his or her services. You need to feel that this person has integrity and honesty before you will trust him or her with your financial information.
Also, be aware that fee structures vary and that different types of practitioners have different levels of training and experience. Keep in mind that you are looking to establish a long-term relationship. You want someone who will learn your business inside and out, and who will become a trusted advisor on major business and financial decisions and transactions.
Look not only for technical competence but also for interpersonal and communication skills. Defining your objectives and expectations will help you ask the kind of specific questions necessary for finding the CPA best suited to your needs. Think about the services you will need not just today but further down the road.
We do not have any other specific references for an accountant or bookkeeper in your area; but, you can contact business associates or your banker for a referral, check CPAs and other Internet directories.
About the Author
Bill Wade is a serial entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded over 25 companies since 1989. Bill thrives on the success of others and started Company.com with businesses in mind. Company.com ranked #10 in the Business Products and Services category in the Inc.5000 for 2015.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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