How to Find a CPA for Small Business

How to Find a CPA for Small Business

You're running a profitable small business. You are helping your consumers, and they are rewarding you with the one thing that every business requires to thrive - money.  

Indeed, you may have started making so much money, and your firm is expanding so quickly that it's time to hire someone to assist you in keeping track of it. Perhaps it's time to consult with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

But how do you go about finding the best small business accountant, and how do you know you've found a good one? Check the information below.

Why Do You Need a CPA for Your Small Business?
An accountant is a specialist who handles all of the detailed and necessary math activities associated with running a business: bookkeeping, financial documentation such as tax returns and profit-and-loss statements, and financial planning. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accountant who has completed the Uniform CPA Exam and meets the educational and experience criteria of the state in which they live.

To put it another way, CPAs are all accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. And, while a CPA cannot make business decisions for you, after all, this is your business, a CPA may provide sound advice and assist you in making sound judgments, in addition to managing all of the following tasks:

- Tax guidance and planning
Assist your company in saving money on taxes today and planning for future tax circumstances.

- Audit and assurance
Assist in identifying any issues with your tax returns before the IRS does.

- Management and consulting
Acting as your chief financial officer (CFO), assist with budgeting, risk management, and financial statement preparation for shareholders.

- Forensic Accounting 
It’s the study of books in order to prevent or detect fraud or embezzlement.

- Payroll administration
It entails ensuring that everyone is paid on schedule and that all payroll withholdings are handled correctly.

- Bookkeeping
It entails handling invoices and accounts receivable, ensuring that bills such as rent and utilities are paid on time, and paying vendors on time.

As you can see, a CPA can assist you with much more than just bookkeeping and tax preparation. Once you've decided what services you require from a CPA, it's time to start looking for one you'd like to work with.

Where Can You Find the Best CPA for Your Small Business?
Before you begin your CPA search, consider what services you will require from them. Will they only be in charge of accounting and payroll? Will you need to hire a CPA to be your full-time financial expert? Once you've decided on that, it's time to start looking. Here are a few methods for locating the best CPA:

- Look for them online, but double-check their credentials
When looking, make certain that the person you discover is a Certified Public Accountant. That signifies they passed the exam and have a license from your state. In addition to taking the exam, CPAs should complete continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses and stay current on all federal, state, and local tax regulations. Make sure they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) if they are going to prepare your taxes.

- Meet them face-to-face
It's always a good idea to meet the individual who will be handling your money in person. You want to make sure you can trust your CPA because you will be the one who pays if something goes wrong. If you phone them and they are hesitant to meet in person, call someone else.

Questions to Ask a Certified Public Accountant
So, what questions should you ask a possible CPA during your meeting? You should inquire about their experience, team size, and whether they have a specialty (and what that specialist is).

To get you started, consider the following questions.

1. How long have you worked as a CPA?
This is relatively simple. You probably don't want someone who recently graduated from accounting school if you have a challenging accounting scenario. Try to find a CPA who has at least two years of experience.

2. Are you available all year?
This may not seem like a big concern if you only require a CPA for a one-time audit or to submit your taxes. But if something comes up, be sure it's their full-time employment and not a side hustle they just do around tax season.

3. Can you represent me before the IRS?
Many CPAs are also Enrolled Agents, which means that if you get into difficulty with the IRS, they can represent you and speak on your behalf during hearings. Being audited by the IRS might feel like the Spanish Inquisition, so having someone on your side is quite helpful.

4. With whom will I be collaborating?
It is not uncommon for a CPA to have a support staff. Find out how big their company is, what their team members' qualifications are, and how they prefer to interact.

5. What is your fee structure?
It is perfectly acceptable to inquire about their pricing and billing procedures. Some services may be charged on a per-job basis, while others may be priced on an hourly basis. Try to obtain a written estimate.

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