How to Hire an Accountant for Taxes?
John F. Dennehy Jr., CPA, PC

Hire an Accountant

How to Hire an Accountant for Taxes?

You don't have to own a business or be wealthy to want to learn how to hire an accountant for taxes. In fact, if you're like most people, the entire process of preparing, planning, and filing your taxes is too confusing and stressful. 

On the other hand, if you're facing a potential problem, like an IRS audit, filing back taxes, dealing with an audit — knowing how to hire an accountant for taxes may be all but necessary. Fortunately, you're not alone. 

A NerdWallet survey discovered a few years ago that approximately ⅓ of U.S. citizens use tax advisors or tax preparers to file returns. However, most citizens do not know much about tax preparers, tax accountants, or tax advisors — or how to find or hire an accountant for taxes. Let's take a second to review a few key considerations you should review when learning how to hire an accountant for taxes. 

Getting Started: Finding the Right Accountant 

First things first, some accountants are more like a Swiss Army Knife and are jacks of all trades; while some accountants specialize in particular areas. If you're looking for a tax accountant, you want to make sure the accountant you hire has previously handled certain tax issues, like audits or home office deduction

One good way to find the right tax accountant is to ask for referrals. You can ask individuals with situations similar to yours or fellow business owners. You can also ask your financial advisor or any other professional in your area. 

If none of those sources are fruitful, you can always turn to the ever-reliable Google search engine. And once you make a short list of potential accountants, don't hesitate to call different firms to learn whether they have the expertise in taxes. 

The Credentials Matter

Did you know the IRS requires anyone who is compensated to assist in the preparation of or prepares federal tax returns to have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN)? Yet, the PTIN is relatively easy to obtain, so you should take it a step farther. You should always look for a credentialed preparer who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Why Choose a Certified Public Accountant? 

A CPA is certified by both state and federal government, and the skills of a CPA are frequently reviewed by the IRS. If you're audited, a CPA is the most effective way to combat it. These seasoned professionals also develop relationships with tax lawyers and the IRS, so they can usually relay information and make referrals on behalf of their clients. 

Most importantly, a CPA will help save you money because they know all of the items you can declare or deduct. CPAs are especially helpful if you have:

  • Business accounts
  • Real estate
  • Investments
  • Foreign accounts
  • Life changes

And a CPA is trained to spot potential red flags that could prompt an IRS audit. These professionals can be critical in helping ensure your return is free of these red flags. 

You Should Definitely Interview Accountants

You shouldn't ever commit your business or personal taxes to someone you haven't met. As a result, it makes dollars and a lot of sense to sit down with the professional to discuss your situation and ask questions. Even if you conduct an interview over the phone, it's imperative for you to do your due diligence. A few of the most common questions you can ask include:

  1. Are you licensed to practice in your state? 
  2. Are you a Certified Public Accountant? ( You shouldn't assume every accountant is.)
  3. Where did you go to school and which degrees did you earn? 
  4. What areas do you specialize in?
  5. How accessible are you?
  6. Which professional organizations do you belong to?

Ask for References 

You can also ask for references. Think of it as if you are looking to hire someone to work for your company. And once they give you references, you should definitely reach out to the references and have at least a few very pointed and direct questions, such as:

  1. Have you ever had a problem with the accountant?
  2. Are you pleased with their services?
  3. How long does it take them to respond to your questions or phone calls?

These simple questions can provide you with substantial insight into the accountants skill, work ethic, etc. 

Make Sure You Discuss Fees

Every accountant can possibly have different fees. Make sure you understand and have this discussion up front. More importantly, make sure you understand the fee schedule, which will either be hourly or on a monthly retainer. It's completely fair for you to ask for an estimate. And while fees are undoubtedly important, it's best to not base your decision solely on cost. 

Contact Dennehy CPA

If you're looking for a reliable Certified Public ACcountant who confidently checks all the boxes, John F. Dennehy CPA will meet your needs. 

Contact us today to learn more about the tax planning and filing services we offer.

About the Author John F. Dennehy Jr., CPA, PC

We at John F. Dennehy CPA are a team of certified public accountants who service clients throughout Long Island. The services that we provide are comprehensive, and we can resolve multiple accounting needs for a client.

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