We get it: navigating the financial world is incredibly challenging. When it comes to choosing CPA services, you need to know that you’re choosing someone reliable, trustworthy, and good at what they do. Whether you need help with tax planning strategies, preparing your tax returns, or setting up QuickBooks, you absolutely must choose a quality CPA firm to help out. 

How do you choose the right firm? Check out these tips to empower yourself as you search for the best CPA to take on your financial needs. 

What Is the Role of a CPA? 

A CPA, or certified public accountant, has a large role. They can do many different things, and some CPAs have experience and expertise in targeted areas. While CPAs are most known for helping with tax preparation and planning, their roles go well beyond just filing your taxes. 

These licensed professionals handle many financial and accounting needs. From financial planning to payroll to bookkeeping support and more, you can find expertise in the financial field to back up your professional or business needs. 

A CPA doesn’t just get their title overnight. They are required to go through extensive training and education to earn their certification. They also must pass a series of rigorous tests. It is this training and testing that makes them the experts we turn to. 

Now, take a look at these tips to help you choose the best one for your needs. 

  1. Assess Your Needs

Before you can choose a CPA, you need to understand what your specific needs are. The truth is we all have different finance and accounting needs. Who you choose to handle yours will depend on those needs. Many CPAs have specialty areas that they focus on, although there are some that handle a broader range of needs. 

To choose the best fit, come up with the services and accounting needs that matter most to you. Do you need tax preparation? Maybe you need help with payroll. Or perhaps you own a small business that just needs some bookkeeping assistance. 

You can find providers with all of this and more, but understanding your unique needs will allow you to look for a CPA that can provide for those needs. 

  1. Check Credentials and Qualifications

There are plenty of bookkeeping services out there that are not operated by a valid CPA. While those services may be a good resource for some simple help for you, they will be limited in what they can provide in the end. 

If you need traditional service from a CPA, you need someone who has the proper credentials and qualifications. You can see whether their CPA license is in good standing. This is public information. If there are any negative marks against them that affect their licensing under the regulatory body, you will be able to see those. 

It’s a good idea to check these things to protect yourself from accidentally getting mixed up in a mess or with an unreliable CPA. In addition, check out their areas of expertise to ensure they are qualified to handle the business you need. 

  1. Compatibility and Communication

CPA services

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Just because someone you know loves a certain CPA and refers everyone to them doesn’t mean you will feel the same way. The thing is, we all have different preferences. Where that person may have an incredible experience, their CPA may not be compatible with your needs. 

If there is anything about your relationship that feels as though it isn’t compatible, it may be best for you to walk away and choose different CPA services. It’s ok if you and your neighbor prefer different CPAs. The relationship works much better when you are compatible with each other. 

In addition, you need to consider their communication habits and abilities. Can the CPA you are considering provide effective communication? Are they trustworthy and transparent? Do they return phone calls in a timely manner? Things like willingness to listen, responsiveness, and even their communication style are important for the best working relationship. 

Choose a CPA who values you as a customer and shows that through fostering communication and a professional relationship. 

  1. Understand the Fee Structure and Value

A CPA has the ability to set their own fees and prices. Before you sign any type of contract or agreement, ensure you understand what the fee structure is and the value that these services provide to you. 

You’re going to be paying fees. There is no way around that. It’s ok to compare the costs of one CPA firm to another. However, just know that sometimes it isn’t just about the costs. It’s about the quality and compatibility too. 

Get to know their fees so you can plan and prioritize your expectations and budget. Before you scoff at the fees, make sure you consider the benefits of using the services you need. Can you make it work with your budget, or are there ways to adjust services to something that works for both of you? 

  1. Check Reputation and References

Finally, you can find out a lot about a CPA firm by checking out their reputation. Ask for references, and ask others around you their opinions of the CPAs you are considering. Do a quick online search to see what kind of reputation they have overall. 

Just take the time to do a little bit of checking around with testimonials, online reviews, affiliations, and even word of mouth. Many times, a proven track record of satisfaction says a lot about a place. 

Choose Reliable CPA Services with Us! 

At Katherine M. Johnson, CPA, we take great pride in offering a variety of services to meet your needs. We’re here to work with you towards your long-term goals and financial success. How can we help with your CPA needs? 

Contact us today for a free consultation!