Well, in tax world, this time period is what we like to call “the calm before the storm”. The extension filing due date has just passed (Monday to be exact) and the 2018 tax season doesn’t officially begin until January. Most people don’t want to think about the dreaded “T”-word for a few months, but if you can beat the crowds, you can get your refund even sooner and more importantly, decrease your chances of tax related identity fraud.

The Columbia Business Times pretty much summed it up when they said, “a good accountant can help a business grow and become financially strong; a bad accountant can do the opposite”. I know it sounds simple, but the accountant you choose can be the deciding factor between wild financial success and utter failure. Pretty heavy stuff, huh? So how can you make sure that you make the right choice? There are a couple factors you might want to consider.

Ask Aroundconversation

What type of services are you looking for—personal accounting? Business accounting?  Advising? Are you looking for more of a one stop shop that can accommodate any and all financial needs you may have? Talk to people or other businesses you know and trust.  Ask lots of questions. Find out about the accountant or firm they use. Do they love him? Hate him? Word of mouth is one of the most important forms of advertising. People tend to be brutally honest when asked their opinions. At least by talking to people you know and trust, you’re getting honest feedback for the specific questions you have.

Check Those Credentials

Now that you’ve found someone you like, make sure those credentials are up to snuff. If you’re looking for someone to do taxes and provide strategic tax planning advice, you may want to get the advice from a certified public accountant (CPA). Those possessing CPA certification have received not only an undergraduate degree  in accounting or a related field, they have also completed graduate level courses (if not an entire graduate degree) and taken a strenuous 4 part exam that only has a pass rate of a mere 50%. They are the best of the best in their profession and have spent significant time, effort, and money to receive those three simple letters to set them apart from the rest. Experience can also be a commodity that you can’t exactly put a price tag on. Finding an accountant or firm that has an established reputation with a wealth of experience could definitely help you to make that final decision.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for References

Ok, so you’ve talked to friends and colleagues and found what seems to be the perfect fit. Credentials have all checked out and you’re thrilled. Still want a little more peace of mind? Don’t be afraid to ask your new accountant for references. Contact those who have used his/her services before and ask questions. Has he/she reduced their tax liability? Increased deductions? Improved financial processes? All of these are important to consider before making your final decision. In addition to checking the references provided by the firm, it’s always a good idea to do a little digging of your own. With today’s technology, references and answers are right at your fingertips—literally. Just start typing into Google and you can find out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like they say, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. But, you can definitely use the information you found in conjunction with all your other research to help you to make an informed decision.

read the fine printFamiliarize Yourself with the “Fine Print”

Make sure you are familiar with all fees and details at the onset. You don’t want any surprises and a good accountant should be up front with you regarding all of this information. A trustworthy accountant should give you written estimates and proposals that have all of the details spelled out for you. They should also be open and willing to answer any questions you may have. Your accountant should definitely be someone you feel comfortable with—after all, they’re the person who will be scrutinizing your personal or business financials!

Here at Wealth Builders CPAs & Consultants, we pride ourselves on meeting and exceeding these factors that were mentioned. We aren’t just patting ourselves on the back. Ask around. Once we begin a client relationship, that person or business tends to remain a client for life. Why you may ask? Because of our client-based philosophy—we want to make your experience as close to perfect as we can from start to finish. We don’t want to be just another run of the mill accounting firm. We want to be THE firm you picture when you think of any sort of financial services. We offer services in accounting, advising, financial planning, payroll, and everything in between. We handle business and personal finances. We have a reputation for not only decreasing our clients’ tax liability, but also increasing their cash flows. But don’t take our word for it. Talk to clients who have used our services. They will tell you the same things.

Tax season will be here before you know it. Schedule a free consultation with us and learn why our clients stay clients for life. Let us handle all of your personal and professional financial needs. You could be our next “lifetime client”!

 

 

Spence, Sean. “Business Smarts: Choosing the Right Accountant.” Columbia Business Times, 27 Sept. 2017, columbiabusinesstimes.com/2017/09/27/business-smarts-choosing-right-accountant/.

Oliver, Blake. “Why I’m Going for the CPA.” Going Concern, 31 May 2016, goingconcern.com/why-im-going-cpa/.