Seven Tips for Choosing the Perfect Accounting Firm
You’re the expert in your niche. However, you might not be an expert in taxes, financial statements, or bookkeeping. That’s where an Irvine CPA, or certified public accountant, can come in handy.
Without accurate, timely books, you can’t make accurate financial decisions, and you might make mistakes that cost you in penalties and regulatory issues.
Finding good accountants to help you establish effective accounting practices can simplify your financial management. Small business accountants can help you do your own books or handle all the nuances of your finances, depending on what you need.
Check out these seven tips on how to find an accountant for your small business.
1. Find Irvine CPA Recommendations
You can research potential accountants online, and you should. But hearing directly from real people who have used certain accountants can be an effective way to find a quality option.
Think about what you need from an accountant. Then, find other business owners with similar accounting needs.
Ask those business owners which accounting firms they use to handle their books. Find out what types of services they have available and how satisfied the business owners are with their services.
If you don’t know other business owners, check with local business associations for recommendations. If you’re looking for a CPA firm in Irvine, business groups in the area will be familiar with the options.
2. Check on Experience
Your business isn’t the same as other businesses. Because of this, you might have specific financial concerns. Your industry might require extra regulatory activities related to finances.
If you run a nonprofit organization, you will likely have concerns regarding funding, board governance, and tax laws. On the flip side, if you’re in the healthcare industry, you’re likely to be concerned with regulations, unpaid claims, and bills. Still yet, you might use a 1099 tax form for independent contractors who do work for your business. Ultimately, each industry has unique concerns and regulations.
Choosing an accounting firm with experience in your areas of need increases the accuracy of your books. You can avoid penalties and learn how to maximize your company’s finances with experienced accounting help.
Not all accountants specialize in certain industries. You should still look for an accounting professional with experience working with small businesses. This ensures they know how to handle situations unique to your company size.
3. Verify Accounting Credentials
Ask about your accountant’s credentials before you begin hiring.
Choosing a certified accountant can protect your interests. Credentials from regulated professional bodies show that an accountant has met certain professional standards. If you choose a certified public accountant, you get the peace of mind of knowing they’ve completed a degree program and meet the competency requirements.
Certifications often mean a higher degree of experience, knowledge, and expertise in the accounting field. That experience not only increases the chances of having accurate accounting records, but it’s also beneficial if you’re looking for advice. Accountants often provide advice on business finance situations and taxes. You want advice from someone with extensive experience.
4. Clarify Available Services
Not every accounting business offers the same list of services. The easiest option is to find one firm that handles all of the accounting services you need, so you can keep your finances in one spot.
Keeping everything with one accountant also reduces the risk of mistakes. The bookkeeping that takes place year-round is important for tax preparation. If your accountant has handled your books all year, they can more easily and accurately prepare your taxes.
Knowing what you want your accountant to do is the first step. Do you just want basic bookkeeping services or do you need monthly audited financial statements? Are you also looking for tax planning advice and tax preparation services? Review the accountant’s available services to ensure they have what you need.
It’s also important to think about your company’s future growth. You might need just basic accounting help now, but when your company grows, you could need additional services. Finding an accountant that can grow with you means you won’t have to look for a new firm in the future.
5. Consider Personality Fit
You want a company with strong accounting skills, but don’t forget about the personality fit. You don’t need to choose someone you would want to be friends with or hang out with on a Saturday night. But your personalities should be compatible.
If the straight-shooter, no-nonsense approach doesn’t appeal to you, find someone who’s more personable, for example. Communication is important in staying informed about your finances, even if your accountant handles most of the work. You want someone who communicates in a manner that suits you.
6. Look at Technology Used
Accounting technology continues to change and improve. You want a firm that uses secure, advanced technology to achieve the best results. Ask each accountant what type of software they suggest for clients. Choosing a firm with experience in different types of software, including cloud-based options, gives you more flexibility in how you handle daily financial tasks.
Using an accounting firm that uses the latest technology means that, ultimately, you will have more access to convenient features. Many newer programs offer integration between your accounting and point-of-sale software, for example. Automation features in newer accounting software can save you time and reduce the chances of errors.
7. Review Fees and Contract
Understanding how your accountant’s fee schedules work is important for budgeting. It also helps you compare the different options to verify that you get the best deal. The way accountants handle fees can vary.
Accountants might charge an hourly fee. This can be challenging for budgeting until you get an idea of how long it takes your accountant to do the work. Some, on the other hand, charge monthly or annual fees that include your regular bookkeeping plus tax preparation.
Another consideration is the contract. Review the terms to ensure you’re not locked into a questionable agreement. Look at the length of the contract. Some accountants might require long-term contracts. This forces you to stay with them even if you’re unhappy with the services or your needs or financial situation changes. You might consider an option that gives you the flexibility to change your arrangement as you see fit.
Finding Good Accountants
Choosing good accountants to handle your personal and business finances makes your job easier. It can also cut down on future mistakes and ensure you stay in financial compliance. If you need tax or accounting services, contact us today for more information.