Choosing the Right CPA

Choosing the right accountant or tax professional is one of the most determining factors of your financial future, so it’s not something you can afford to take lightly. The wrong firm can make a mess of your finances and leave you playing catch up for the rest of your life. On the other hand, an experienced, dedicated CPA can save you a great deal of money and give you a sense of security you never thought possible.

Make The Right Choice

It doesn’t matter what kind of financial situation you’re in. Whether you own a thriving business that needs accounting services year round or you just need a little help during tax season, you have to know how to vet a CPA firm properly to make an educated decision. That’s why we started the UCPAA in the first place– to help individuals and businesses choose a CPA firm that’s truly dedicated to protecting their assets.

The Dangers of DIY Accounting

How much you actually need

The first step toward choosing the right CPA is knowing how much you actually need one. For business owners, this usually isn’t an issue. This is because their finances are far too complicated to think they can handle them on their own. Business owners might (and often do!) choose the wrong CPA, but most of them do understand the necessity of hiring one. In other words, business owners often need as much help as anyone else when comes to choosing the best CPA, but they don’t usually need convincing.

Average person needs a some assistance in choosing

But it’s different with the average individual taxpayer. They’re much more likely to think they can handle their money on their own. This kind of thinking might make sense in a way, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s usually mistaken. It’s nothing to be ashamed of– getting the most out of your money requires a skill set that most people simply don’t have. That’s why the average person needs a little convincing, as well as some assistance in choosing the best CPA.

Two Mistaken Beliefs

Generally speaking, people who don’t hire CPA firms to handle their money fall into one of two categories.

The first group is comprised of people who believe that the tax preparation software they find online is just as effective as having an accountant.

The second group takes this ‘do-it-yourself’ approach even further. It’s made up of people who manage their money the old-fashioned way. Pencil in hand, they spread their tax forms, receipts, etc out on the kitchen table and start hacking away. These are the ‘go-it-alone’ types, and even if they have enough foresight to use a calculator, they end up doing themselves a disservice

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is blindly trusting some type of tax preparation or accounting software. This mistake usually stems from a desire to save money. Every April, people ask themselves: ‘Why should I pay a CPA to do something I can do with this free piece of software?’ But while this might sound like a good idea on the surface, the deeper reality is usually the exact opposite.

Here’s the bottom line when it comes to free accounting software.

Some people don’t think they need any help at all when it comes to managing their finances. Even during tax time, they push through the red tape and number crunching all by themselves. They don’t need any slick software and they definitely don’t need to hire a CPA.

What problems may arise?

How to Choose the Right CPA

No matter which group you fall into, the solution is pretty clear. By hiring a reputable CPA or other accounting professional, you can avoid unnecessary risks and save a great deal of money. Once you’re convinced of this undeniable reality, an important question immediately arises: what things should you look for when you want to hire a CPA?

Here are nine great tips for choosing a CPA firm you can trust:

  1. Find out how long the firm has been in business.
  2. Ask how long the CPA has been licensed and practicing.
  3. How many employees does the company have? If the number’s too low, it’s probably because they haven’t been able to attract good clients.
  4. Find out if you’ll communicate directly with the CPA or have to pass messages through some anonymous gatekeeper.
  5. Read as many social reviews of the company as you can.
  6. Check out the firm’s credit rating.
  7. Verify that the company has a physical office. It’s also a good idea to find out what size the office is.
  8. Send the company and email and see how long it takes them to respond. If they don’t respond quickly, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
  9. Call the company’s office and see if they answer during business hours. Busy signals, long hold times, and transfers to voicemail are definitely red flags.

You’re right if you think this sounds like a lot of hard work. And it gets even harder when you take additional metrics into account. That’s why so many people choose to search ucpaa.org for a reputable accounting firm in their area. With the help of our experienced CPA advisory board, the UCPAA search engine will do the hard work for you. It’s free, simple to use, and will give you a quick list of area CPAs who can live up to your standards.

Find Your CPA Today!

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