Aside from any business partners you may have, your accountant probably gets to know more about your company than anyone but you. The organization’s financial health will rest in the capable hands of your CPA, so it’s worth finding a firm that’s a good fit for your needs. Asking the following questions can help you narrow down your selection.
How Available Do You Need Your CPA to Be?
In a volatile economy, companies in industries that experience variable work flow may need an accountant to be readily available for face-to-face meetings and teleconferences throughout their busiest seasons. Others prefer to give their CPA the reins and need little contact beyond the occasional phone call or email exchange. Whether your approach requires frequent communication or feels more hands-off, look for a firm that is flexible enough to meet your need for contact with your CPA.
How Much Service Does Your Company Need?
Some companies rely on their accountants to provide full-service help for everything from payroll and daily maintenance to complete financial audits; others handle daily tasks in-house and work with their CPAs to build a bigger financial picture together. While most CPA firms can provide a full suite of services, a good one will accommodate your individual needs and work with you to design a financial plan that fits your business.
Do You Need a Specialist CPA?
Like most professionals, CPAs typically specialize in areas that particularly interest them. Tax preparation and compliance services are important to every business, but these areas become more complex when a business spans a larger region. For companies that have holdings in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for example, finding a CPA licensed to practice there is a tremendous asset. Companies in some industries may have an increased need for forensic accounting services. Understanding who you need will help you find the specialist who meets those needs.
Do You Have Strong Financial Guidance?
CPAs do more than bookkeeping services. They can also prepare budgets and projections that inform your decisions about major purchases, reduce your chances of seeing an audit and turn your thorniest thickets of old financial statements into a well-manicured garden. You may not need in-depth financial analysis and advice, but having projections that work can help any company chart a more successful course.
How Much Does Your CPA Cost?
Saving on CPA services by hiring a friend of a friend to handle your books is often a false economy. The money you save initially can cost you an exorbitant sum later if you’re facing an audit or planning a business acquisition. On the other hand, you may not need to pay Big Four prices for accounting services; a smaller firm that provides similar expertise at a lower price could be ideal for you.