Every business needs a tax and accounting expert, who can take care of the compliances, tax regulations, bookkeeping and other matters. For startups, hiring a CPA is a crucial decision, because there are limited resources involved, and with limited funds, making the right choice is more than important. Below are the questions you need to consider while interviewing CPA firms.
1. What Services do You Offer?
Let’s start by saying that every CPA is an accountant, but every accountant is not a CPA. Apart from bookkeeping and tax preparation, CPAs do a lot of other jobs, including IRS representation and business consulting. They help clients with their investments and assist them with other financial matters, as well. They may offer assistance related to compliance factors and can also offer ideas on reducing tax burden. Basically, when you hire a CPA, you hire a consulting service.
2. How Long Have You Been in Business?
When it comes to tax and accounting matters, experience counts. CPAs are supposed to keep a check on state and federal norms, and they are expected to have dedicated knowledge of IRS matters. A firm that has been around for more than 5 years should be your ideal choice. CPAs get paid for their advice and work, and for that, you need to know their profile. If required, ask for a few references. A company that’s reliable and reputed will never shy away from offering client details.
3. What’s the Range of Your Clients?
An accountant is expected to understand your business. For example, the tax rules for a IT startup will be very different than that of a restaurant. CPAs work with all kinds of clients, but their areas of expertise may differ. If a firm has handled more than a few clients and firms in your industry, you can surely rely on them for the job.
4. Are You Available?
Don’t be surprised, but there are CPAs who only work for certain parts of the year, mainly around the tax season. As a small business owner, you would need the assistance and advice of your tax consultant almost every now and then, and therefore, it is best to work with a firm that’s available. If they offer business consulting services, they should be able to offer assistance when required.