Before you start looking for CPA Firm Near You, its important to understand that just like doctors and Lawyers, CPA Firms specialize in different areas as well.
Such as Taxation, Auditing, Forensic accounting, Managerial accounting and bookkeeping and QuickBooks Reviews.
So it’s important that you define and access your needs.
Maybe you are looking for more than one expertise, in that case we suggest you may be looking for an CPA firm instead of working with just one accountant.
Industry Expertise for the CPA Firm
Determine if your business is specialized for example are you a dentist or a restaurant owner. Both small businesses are very specialized and each industry will demand you pick a professional that understands what specific write-offs each industry has.
For example a Dentist may need specific tax write off that may not be very relevant in the Restaurant industry. So the Dentist will a Dental CPA.
Start compiling a list of accountants in the industry you are, in and start evaluating them on other factors listed below. You can visit industry websites and many of them have list of accountants or CPA that specialize in the industry.
Do you need someone who is an expert in taxation or someone who can also manage your retirement account? In that case maybe you want an CPA that specializes in taxation but also has a CFP designation to help you plan your investments as well.
If you are looking for someone to provide audited financials to your bank then EA will not be a right fit and you will need a CPA.
Determine what type of expertise is needed and pick a professional accordingly
Check out Bookkeeper vs CPA here so you can pick the right professional based on what type of work you need done.
Size of the CPA Firm
Are you sole proprietor or have a very small business then you may just need a CPA who works by himself. But If you are looking to only work with one firm because your business needs payroll, bookkeeping, consulting, audit and tax services, then you may need to work with a firm that has a larger team who can help accommodate all your business needs under one roof.
Search Online & Ask Family Friends & Co Workers
We recommend you start searching online and compile a thorough list of CPA, EA and accountants who are right size and have adequate credentials to serve your business. Once you have an online list, add more professionals by asking Family, Friends and Coworkers.
Online Reviews for CPA Firms Near You
One you have a thorough list of accountants, check their online reviews on Yelp, Google and other credible websites. This should help evaluate each accountant and learn more about their services and what type of experience can you expect from them.
Tip: Don’t forget to search “Accountant for Small Business” in google and see reviews listed next to their firm names.
Please note that not all reviews will be positive, many time you will have some people who will leave a negative review for an accountant even when its their fault. So its important to read though the reviews and get an independent prospective.
As long as you have majority of the people rating 4 to 5 stars, most firms will do a pretty good job.
Narrow Down the List & Set Up Meeting
Narrow down the list to 3 to 5 max number of CPA firms and set up meetings with each firm. Make a list of questions you have regarding your small business and other challenges you may be facing.
Once you talk to each Accountant, request a list of their hourly rate or flat rate for Tax Preparation, Consulting Services, Bookkeeping Services and so on.
If you are already a small business owner, take a copy of your tax return and financial statements for the accountant to look over and see what recommendations they have.
If you are a new small business owner, then write down a detailed list of questions that you can ask them to get a feel for how they think and whether they can help you comprehend key tax and small business concepts.
Check CPA Firm References
When you meet with accountants, ask them to provide 3 to 5 references of small business owners in your industry.
Call these small businesses and ask them about their experience and what to expect from an accountant’s services and how helpful they are.
Make Final Decision
Once you talk to all the references(Small Business Owners) then make a final decision keeping in mind all the key items we discussed above.
Request and sign engagement letters from the accountant and begin your relationship.
Picking the right CPA firm near you can make or break your business.
We recommend you pick the sharpest and smartest accountant who can help keep your hard earned dollars in your pocket instead of the government’s pocket.
Hopefully our tips and advice regarding ” How to Find an Accountant for a Small Business?” will help you make the right decision for your small business.