Help! I’m Looking for Good “Accountants Near Me”
“Alexa, what are some good accountants near me?” Maybe not the most exciting question you’ve ever asked your virtual assistant, but certainly an important one. However, once you have your list of possibilities, the work really begins.
How do you know which accountant to choose? Without a plan, it may be hard to distinguish one accountant from another.
So, how about we reword that question a bit – “Alexa, what are some good questions to ask potential accountants near me?”
When you’re armed with some key questions to ask your potential financial partner, you’ll know exactly what you’re walking into, which will give you confidence in the decision you make in the end.
Rarely would you hire a new employee to work for your business without conducting an interview. So why would you hire an accountant without doing the same? And most experienced accountants will actually welcome the questions. It shows that you are serious about your finances and your business. That’s the type of client all accountants hope for.
We’ve compiled a short list of eight questions we suggest you ask when looking for the right accounting firm to handle your business finances.
8 Questions to Ask Your Accountant
1. What are your fees?
Managing expectations is always one of the most important parts of any relationship. It’s no different with your accountant. Make sure you know exactly how they charge and how they bill. Do they charge hourly? Project-based? Do they prefer a monthly retainer fee? How will billing be handled? This isn’t usually a make-or-break deal. It simply aligns your expectations from the beginning so money surprises (and consequent frustrations) don’t occur down the road.
2. Do you represent in the case of an audit?
Did you know that not all accountants are qualified to represent clients in an IRS audit? However, all CPAs are. If you think there’s a chance you may be audited at some point (which you should always plan that there is), having an accountant on your financial team that can knowledgeably and seamlessly represent your case will be invaluable.
3. How many times have you gone through an audit with a client?
On that same note, if you have a particularly complex business structure and tax filing status, you will want the security of knowing that your accountant has been through this before and can handle whatever challenges may arise.
4. Do you have experience in my industry?
This is important. Not all industries are taxed the same. Some industries have extremely complex tax laws, which, if not followed, can make or break a business. On the other hand, some industries have unique (and completely legal) tax breaks that could save your business thousands of dollars. Ask yourself, “Does this accountant near me actually have the experience necessary to navigate my field of business?”
5. What is your tax philosophy?
There exists a wide range of attitudes and actions among accountants when it comes to taking tax deductions. You’ll want to know if your accountant is cautious, forward or aggressive with tax deductions. And more importantly, you’ll want to make sure that aligns with your own goals and philosophy.We feel it necessary to note here, that regardless of the immensity of the deductions, it’s important to make sure your accountant is always legal. Beware of constant statements such as “We can get around that”, “We can hide that here”, etc.
6. What software do you have experience with?
If your small business bookkeeping uses a unique software program, ask if your accountant is familiar with it. That will make the transition for both of you much smoother. At the very least, make sure he or she is comfortable navigating digital platforms if that is what you will be using within your own business.
7. Are you willing to work directly with my other financial partners?
Most accountants are. However, if you find one that appears hesitant about collaboration, you’ll want to steer clear. You need a complete team of financial partners, including an attorney and wealth advisors, to deliver the best plan and outcome for your finances.
8. How often do you meet with your clients?
If the potential candidate says he simply likes to meet once a year right before taxes are due, this should be a red flag. As a business with various expenses and cash flow to track, you’ll want to know where the money is going on a regular basis. Not to mention the quarterly taxes that should be prepared and paid in order to avoid a large tax sum at the end of the year or even penalties from non-payment.
If you’re currently looking for an accountant in southeast Ohio and northern West Virginia, we would be happy to answer the questions above for you! Find out more about each of our accounting firm locations near you.
Or call us today at (740) 373-0056.