Even the smallest business can benefit from having a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in your corner. From budgeting to bookkeeping and financial, CPAs do a lot to help you maintain the financial health of your business. Especially beneficial to business owners, CPAs know how to ensure you keep as much of your money as possible by reducing your tax burden. If you’re looking to hire a CPA, here are some questions to ask:
What types of business services do you offer?
Most firms provide a range of services, which should minimally include, bookkeeping, payroll, tax preparation, and financial reporting. More experienced firms will also offer advisory services, like budgeting, forecasting, and strategic planning.
What relevant experience do you have?
Different types of businesses have different types of accounting and tax needs. If you are a healthcare professional, for example, you want a CPA with experience in valuing equipment and accounting for patient receivables. Ask for references.
What accounting tools do you work with?
With QuickBooks ending desktops software support in 2023, QuickBooks Online (QBO) has become the standard accounting software. Confirm QBO experience at a minimum, or other tools that you utilize such as FreshBooks, NetSuite, etc.
When should we meet to discuss my business taxes?
Tax consultation is one of the primary purposes of having a CPA. Ask how often your potential CPA recommends meeting to discuss your taxes. Hint: While once per year is okay, we recommend meeting every quarter. It’s much easier to find cost-saving opportunities during the tax year.
How have you helped your business clients save money?
Ask for specific examples to give you an indication of the CPA’s focus on expense reduction, such as analyzing past results, highlighting variances, and identifying tax deductions/reductions.
Describe your accounting philosophy – on the scale of conservative to aggressive?
Determine the CPAs approach to accounting and tax planning, whether cautious, assertive or aggressive about financial reporting and minimizing tax liabilities. Your CPA’s style and philosophy should match yours. If you don’t feel comfortable with this person’s philosophy, keep looking until you find someone who makes you comfortable.
How do you bill your clients?
Billing type and rates along alone should not determine whether you hire a firm, but you need to know what to expect. Some firms bill by the hour, where others bill by the service or timeframe, like $X for monthly bookkeeping support.
Get the Answers You Want
Asking questions like this will also establish a dialog, so you can determine if this is the type of person or firm you could work with. For example, if the CPA is speaking in terms that are too technical, you may want to find someone who can communicate at a level you can understand.
If you are looking for the right CPA for your business, we invite you to ask us these questions and anything else you want to know. We love meeting new clients, but more than anything, we want to be the right fit for your needs.