If you’re already considering hiring a Certified Public Accountant, you probably already know about the huge benefits it can bring to your business. Not only will you enjoy significant tax savings and the peace of mind that comes with accurate, compliant financials, you’ll have countless hours freed up to focus on running your company instead of crunching numbers.
While the advantages of using a CPA are obvious, choosing the right tax professional isn’t quite so clear-cut. Like any other profession, each accountant has different capabilities and limitations. You’re not just hiring someone to file your tax return each April—you need a long-term partner who’s invested in the growth and success of your business all year round.
To ensure a good match, here are a few key questions to ask a tax professional before trusting them with your financials:
- “How long have you been working in the financial industry?”
This is a critical factor. Your business’ financial health is simply too important to trust to a newbie. Look for a CPA with at least several years of experience in the tax business. Ideally, you want someone who is proficient not just in filing returns, but in all aspects of business and financial advisory services.
- “What’s your tax specialty?”
Depending on the nature of your business and the unique challenges you face, you may need extra guidance in certain areas. That said, it’s a good idea to hire a well-rounded CPA with expertise across all financial areas, as you never know what changes your company might experience down the road.
- “Will my information be safe?”
- “What tax strategies are working for your other clients?”
Although a CPA should never share specific details of their clients’ financial situations, they may be able to recommend strategies that have proven successful for other businesses in your industry.
- “How big is your firm, and how many clients do you have?”
While large accounting firms often have more resources, they may not offer the same level of personalized attention as a smaller company. Make sure you’re clear on who your point of contact will be and who will manage your account. If there are multiple tax professionals, make sure they have all received the proper training and that the quality of their work is monitored.
- “How can you help my business?”
A good CPA is more than just a number cruncher—he or she is a long-term partner and business advisor with expert recommendations on how to attract more customers, market your products and services, and boost revenue. If you don’t get the feeling that an accountant is excited about helping you take your business to the next level, move on to one who is.