Contrary to popular belief, your accountant should mean more to your business than a simple number cruncher or tax preparer. In addition, your accountant should provide you with an incomparable level of insight in your business. With this insight, you will be able to better notice trends, understand business lines, and operate more efficiently. However, understanding how to choose an accountant can be a confusing and slightly overwhelming process. The following information explains a few of the top areas you should pay attention to when you are researching how to choose an accountant.
Similar to choose a physician, it’s vital to know your accountant has the proper education and credentials. When you are learning how to choose an account, make sure you ask for the professional’s credentials before you go too far in the process. While accounting license requirements can vary from state to state, the universal license for accounting professionals is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. This guarantees the individual has taken and passed the respective state’s CPA board exam. CPAs are also required to complete a specific number of continuing education courses to keep their license.
CPAs are uniquely vetted in their adherence to ethical accounting standards and conducts through their completion of multiple courses in ethics. You can also pay attention to whether the accounting professional holds memberships in any state-specific accounting organizations or the national American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). As members of this organization, the accountant is required to stay up to date with the latest tax code and accounting changes.
Since tax codes and laws change on a regular basis, it may or may not matter about the accountant’s years of experience as long as they stay current and up -to-date with the tax laws. Instead, it’s best to choose an accountant based on your individual tax situation. If you juggle interest-bearing accounts, bonds, and stocks, you may need to choose an accounting professional that offers experience finding ways to negate paying excessive taxes. In any case, it’s vital to understand how to choose an accountant with experience with the issues associated with your finances.
If you own a business, it’s especially important to choose an accountant with industry experience. At the same time, you will want to know your accountant has specific experience with businesses that are structured like yours, such as a corporation, partnership, LLC, or sole proprietor. When you have an accountant who understands the dynamics of your business and already has an existing small client base, they will be better prepared to serve the needs of your business in the long run.
Today, a growing number of accountants only offer services during tax season. However, most businesses and consumers need professional advice and consulting year-round. As a result, it’s vital to choose an accountant with availability that properly meets your needs. You should also make sure the accountant will return phone calls or emails in a respectable amount of time. Simply put, you don’t want to have to wait a week to get an answer on a critical question or concern you have.
Whether you are a sole proprietor, corporation, or an individual consumer, being confronted by the IRS can be a terrifying experience. When your accountant is a CPA, they will be able to effectively guide you through the ordeal and even represent you in court. Your CPA can handle issues involving auditing, appeals, and more. One of the biggest benefits of using a CPA for your tax returns is their ability to attest an audit. Attesting an audit means the CPA affirms to the IRS that the statements are true and correct. As a result, if there are any future problems with the return, the CPA will represent you pro bono. Simply put, anytime the IRS is involved, a CPA could be your best lifeline.
Although almost all accounting firms offer services for auditing and taxes, will you ever need more? When you are considering different accountants, it’s vital to think about the future. In addition to the standard accounting and taxes, some of the most common services offered by accountants are:
Your accounting firm can help with the design and implementation of financial information systems. For instance, if your business is looking to utilize the benefits of a new Point-of-Sale system with a built in Customer Management System, your accountant should be able to guide you and help you choose the optimum system. Other services offered by accountants include managing investments, representing you before the IRS; and preparing, auditing, compiling, and reviewing of financial statements. In any case, when you are considering different accountants, it’s vital the professional offers the services you need.
For more information about what to look for in an accountant, contact Dennehy CPA today for a consultation.
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.