If you’re in the market for a personal or professional accountant, it can be difficult to wade through all of your options and find the right one. Here are just five tips for narrowing your search and securing a worthy candidate.
1. Stay Local
This should go without saying, but always choose an accounting firm in your home state. Laws, policies and taxes will differ depending on the location of your headquarters, so if you’re doing business in Hawaii, make sure you choose from accounting firms in Hawaii. You don’t want to get any wires crossed when your money is on the line.
2. Know Your Needs
Are you looking for a financial advisor who will help you make business decisions throughout the growth of your company, or do you just need someone to double-check your quarterly figures before you send them to the IRS? You can narrow down your search of potential firms by figuring out which ones are best suited to your particular problems.
3. Evaluate Their Credentials
Are they a certified internal auditor (CIA) or certified public accountant (CPA)? Are they members of the National Society of Accountants (NSA) or the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)? Check for memberships on state financial boards as well. You’re looking for ties to the community and dedication to the field.
4. Understand Their Hierarchy
Who will actually be handling your business? It isn’t uncommon for accountants to pass work onto their associates or share the burden among colleagues. If it’s important to you that only the accountant you hire has access to your financial information, don’t be afraid to ask a firm how they do business. If you aren’t completely confident in their infrastructure, find another firm.
5. Look for Technological Capabilities
In the 21st century, all financial professionals should have a basic understanding of the tools of their trade. For example, they should know how to use software like QuickBooks, and they should be familiar with things like cloud computing for the instant and easy exchange of data. There’s no excuse for businesspeople not to be “plugged in” in 2015.
These are just five things to keep in mind when looking for an accounting firm to help with your individual or corporate needs. Follow these guidelines to ensure that you choose a solid accountant you can trust.
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