Well, we’re moving right into February already, and now that “most” of the W2’s and 1099s are sent, we’re hearing from a lot of new folks.
Maybe those who are frustrated by other tax professionals, maybe folks who have a new business, or simply people who are curious about how we do business.
Honestly, it’s almost the worst time of the year to do this, because my team and I are really getting warmed up – corporate returns are due in five weeks and by this time of the year, our regular clients are in a place to have gotten us all the information we need to get things done.
…But let’s say you’re in a position to need a new tax professional, how do you go about finding one? Is there a way – an “easy” button you can hit to ascertain who is good, who is great, and who is a problem waiting to happen?
Actually, there is, and if – or when – you find yourself looking for a new firm to handle your tax needs, here are a few things I would ask you to consider if you were making this decision:
- Experience: Right out of the box, I’ll tell you to choose an accounting team that has experience in your business field. Take trucking and logistics, for example. There is an extremely specialized vocabulary in that field, and a practitioner should understand it, know the processes, and be able to empathize (or sympathize) with the owners. This helps to assure the client their business is in good hands, but also, that certain peculiar aspects or nuances of the trade can be documented and accounted for.
- Flexibility: Every company is unique, even if their goods and services aren’t. The reality is, most companies deal in commodities, no matter how unique they’d like to think they are, but a tax professional should understand the subtle things that make a client’s business work. This extends to their own unique preferences and requirements, too, although I’ve sometimes had to put my foot down as a practitioner to explain to clients some things simply aren’t done – or achievable – with certain services. Unless you are paying a firm to handle ONLY your business, you should not expect specialized one-off reports, bespoke programs custom-crafted for you, and so on. On the other hand, you SHOULD expect a level of service commensurate with your fees.
- Reputation: NEVER overlook the importance of hiring an accounting team you can trust. This is the financial health of your company, and not only are you entrusting it to the firm, you’re also relying on their guidance and counsel. Ask question, talk to other clients, and do your own independent research.
There’s a less tangible piece to consider, too. How does the team make you feel? Are they welcoming? Do they make your feel comfortable? Accounting and bookkeeping are some of the most intimate business components that entrepreneurs have and it can be daunting to “open up” about money – but if your CPA doesn’t make you feel okay with that, then you may never be able to really take their advice.
I know that we’re right in the middle of tax season, but if you have any questions about how you may need to incorporate new technology into your business – or if you know a new entrepreneur who is looking for the right advice and guidance, please let me or the team know! I know that we’re right in the middle of tax season, but if you have any questions about how you may need to incorporate new technology into your business – or if you know a new entrepreneur who is looking for the right advice and guidance, please let me or the team know!
All the best-