Whether it’s for your personal tax return or your small business, you know that working with a certified public accountant can bring you significant savings. Instead of wasting time working through your tax paperwork and inevitably leaving money on the table, you can hire a CPA to help you through it.
An experienced CPA will be able to thoroughly and efficiently guide you through the tax preparation process in a fraction of the time you’d need on your own. They’ll take the guesswork and uncertainty out of the process and help you maximize your after-tax income with every deduction and credit possible.
Of course, not every CPA is equally qualified. If you’re going to put your or your company’s finances in their hands, you need them to be someone you can rely on. Here are some key characteristics to look for while selecting a CPA to prepare and file your small business tax return.
License and Credentials
Before you commit to working with a specific CPA, you need to know for sure that all of their credentials are up-to-date. Tax law changes all the time, so you need them to on top of the latest changes.
CPA license verification is a good practice for screening your CPA candidates. You can find out if they’re members of any specific organization, and you can check their license through their State Board of Accountancy.
Each CPA may specialize in a particular area of accounting. And while any CPA may be able to do a passable job on your tax filing, you’re going to get the best possible result with a CPA who specifically works on personal tax returns.
When you meet with a CPA candidate you’re considering, ask about their experience and what kinds of clients they normally work with. It would help if you also asked to speak with former clients of theirs so you can get direct testimonials about their work.
Trust and Respect
Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way of making sure any given CPA is the best candidate for the job. You can’t tell if a CPA is trustworthy enough to take responsibility for your finances just through these tests and requirements.
Before you select a CPA to work with, you want to be sure you can trust them. You’re going to be working alongside them on your tax return, and you want them to respect you and the responsibility they’re carrying.
Ask a CPA for advice, or give them the chance to evaluate your return from a previous year. That might give you some insight into what it would be like to work with them. Talk about your options with someone you trust before you make a final decision.
Don’t Do it Alone
Finding someone to prepare your tax return can be an intimidating process, but it’s better than having to get through tax season by yourself. CPAs know how the laws work, and they’ll be able to maximize your savings and minimize your risk of an audit.
Start early and take your time meeting and selecting a CPA to work with you this year. Then, as tax season approaches, you’ll be able to rest easy with your finances in good hands.