How to Choose a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Regardless as to whether you need help with your personal or professional finances, working with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can be beneficial.  Yes, there are lots of people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes, but considering the complexity of the tax code (and how frequently the tax code changes), if you want to maximize your refund (and/or ensure you’re taking every deduction you’re entitled to), it’s best to leave tax prep to a professional.

Hiring a CPA doesn’t have to be complicated– but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First things first: Don’t assume the firm is automatically accepting new clients

When it comes time to file your 2020 taxes, you should know that not all CPA firms will be accepting new clients.  If you haven’t worked with a CPA in the past (or you haven’t worked with your past firm in several years), understand that you may need to call around to get an appointment.

If your taxes are especially complex, and you’re having a hard time securing an appointment with a firm you feel comfortable with, you can always file for an extension.

Ask about their educational background, training and professional certifications

Not all CPAs (or CPA firms) are created alike. When you start the process of looking for a firm, ask the CPA you’re speaking with about their degree, their education level, and whether they have professional certifications. You’ll also want to ask if they’re familiar with filing the type of tax documents you need help with. For example, if you’re an expat that needs to file expat taxes, you’ll want to work with someone who has experience with that. You may also want to ask how familiar they are with filing taxes for businesses within your industry, and whether they have experience filing taxes for a company your size.

Ask about your point of contact and their communication timelines

A second important question to ask relates to communication timelines. Namely, if you send an inquiry email on Monday morning, you should know how quickly you’ll get a response. If you’re working with a large firm, you’ll also want to ask who will be preparing your taxes (ie: a junior staffer or a partner), and who your main point of contact will be.

In closing

If you have questions about the benefits of working with a CPA and/or you’d like more information about how our firm can help you with your financial planning, call our office today to schedule a no-obligation, complimentary consultation.