How to Choose a CPA

April 15th is just around the corner, and if you’re been searching online for “CPA near me” you’ve likely received dozens of results. With so many firms to choose from, how do you know which one is best? For this post we wanted to discuss several tips you can use to choose a reputable CPA.

Ask about their degrees, specialized training and professional certifications

As we’ve noted in the past, all CPAs are accountants but not all accountants are CPAs. Be sure to ask potential candidates about their educational background and how their educational background is relevant to your individual needs.

Ask what areas they specialize in

If you’ve ever needed to hire an attorney, you likely understand that lawyers specialize in a variety of areas. For example, a criminal defense attorney may not be the best person to help you with a personal injury lawsuit.  CPAs can also specialize in a variety of areas, such as personal financial planning, forensics, tax preparation, nonprofits, environmental accounting, auditing, government entities and others.  Consequently, if you want to hire a CPA to help you prepare your 2020 tax return, you’ll want to work with someone who specializes in that.

Verify their licenses and identification number

CPAs must be licensed in the state in which they want to practice, and most states have an online database where you can look up a CPA by their name. The database will also provide you information about their license status, when it expires, and whether they’ve faced prior disciplinary actions or suspensions.  Additionally, CPAs who help clients prepare taxes have something called a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). You can search the IRS’ Return Preparer Office Directory to verify whether a VPA has a PTIN.

Check their online reviews

Once you’ve compiled a short list, be sure to review the CPA’s online reviews on websites such as Facebook, Yelp and Google+.  Reviews from past clients can help you determine the level of customer service you’ll likely receive. A CPA who has multiple 5-star reviews is a safe choice.

Ask how quickly they respond to inquiries

If you need to speak with your CPA urgently and you send them an email in the morning, can you expect a same-day reply? How often do they check their voicemail? It’s always good to know about a CPAs availability before you decide who to go with.

Have questions? Call Hughes Snell & Co., PA today to speak with an expert

If you need help filing your 2020 taxes and you’d like to schedule an appointment with a CPA, we can help. Call Hughes, Snell & Co., PA today to get started.