Hiring an Accountant: Questions You Need to Ask

When you’re running your own business, finding the right accountant is imperative. Many people think they can cut costs by managing their finances themselves but this can be risky, as any mistakes can severely affect your business. A proficient accountant doesn’t merely fill out your tax return; they should also offer you sound business advice. That’s why you need to ask the right questions at the very beginning of the hiring process. You need to find out if the CPA has your best interests at heart and if they will offer you more than just doing the paperwork. To help you determine if they’re right for you, here are four important questions to ask.

1. Do I trust them?

This is possibly the most important question because if you don’t, you should probably head for the door! You need to feel comfortable with your accountant, as they’ll be handling something very personal and absolutely vital: your finances. According to sme-blog.com, you should always trust your instincts. An accountant should be an advisor and any sign of being pushy should be a warning. If you have any doubts, you can always ask about their CPA credidentials and licenses, then double check online or with the relevant licencing authorities.

2. Will they show me how to make money?

This is the next most important question. According to BusinessSuccessforLife.com, an accountant should help you reduce expenses and minimise tax, but they should also be able to tell you how to maximise profits and personal wealth. When it comes to business planning, they should be able to think out of the box and offer ways for you to be financially efficient.

3. How much am I going to pay?

Accountants certainly don’t come cheap, but you can avoid a few nasty surprises on their invoice by seeking clarification upfront. According to btkcpa.com, some accountants charge by the hour, some want an overall total payment and others use a combination of both. You also need to find out if they charge for things like phone calls and sending faxes. The more unscrupulous kind will charge an hour’s fee for a five minute phone call. Accounting firm btkcpa.com suggests that in order to reduce fees, you should ask your CPA if you can prepare documents beforehand, as this will save time and money.

4. Will I be dealing with one person?

It’s good to build a solid, long-term relationship with your accountant, so you need to know if you’ll be dealing mainly with them or with multiple people. Larger firms tend to assign a number of people to fill out your tax returns, but btkcpa.com says that, ideally, you just want to deal with one person.

The two of you should work in tandem, with the accountant primarily assisting you to make the best financial decisions while building a good relationship along the way. When you’re hiring an accountant, you should keep these important questions in mind. Discussing them with a potential CPA can spare you many hassles further down the line.

Ang Lloyd writes on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes a diverse range of study options in Australia, including business management and accounting courses.

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