Top 5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a CPA

In 2020, there were over 650,00 actively licensed CPAs (Chartered Professional Accountants) in the United States. If you are looking for one, that leaves you with a lot of options for CPAs. You’ll need to consider a few factors in order to make the best decision.

Let’s take a look at the biggest factors when choosing a CPA.

Offered Services

Tax assistance is a common service, but a CPA could be helpful in other situations. It’s important to figure out if you are looking for additional services.

Additional traditional compliance-related services may include financial statement preparation and audits. Accountants for businesses may also offer business planning and consulting such as financing and retirement planning, and valuation services.

Certifications and Training

CPAs are a special type of accountant. They have additional training and certifications that set them apart. This extra training may lead you to a better experience. You can learn more about CPA to see if this is the best choice for you.

In the financial services industry, some services do require additional licenses that even an average CPA may not have. If you are looking for these types of services, make sure to ask your CPA if they have the applicable licenses.

Industry Experience or Geographic Specification

An extensive experience with accounting is something to look for in your accountant. When you are working with financials, having a CPA with experience working with other businesses in that industry can be helpful. They will be able to create industry comparisons. 

Other times, serving many industries within your geographic area can be useful. Some businesses don’t require industry-specific work. A CPA with a network in the local area could help connect you with professional contacts.

Reviews and Recommendations

Online customer reviews can be a huge help in choosing a CPA. They can give you insight into how their service is. Be sure to look for reviews that mention services similar to what you are looking for – this will be more helpful.

Getting recommendations from your network is a good way to find reputable accountants that you can count on. If an acquaintance has had a good experience, you can rest assured that your experience is more likely to be pleasant as well.

Fee Comparison

When you start looking for a CPA, you should set a budget for how much you can afford to pay. This may help narrow down your choices. 

While comparing CPA fees, you should ask how the firm sets its fees. Some CPAs charge hourly, others by project, or on a retainer. The timing of payments and what you get for it is important to consider. 

It is important to balance price with their offered services and experience. You may need to pay more in order to get an accountant that offers the services you want, who has specific experience if needed, or if you want them on retainer.

Remember These Factors for Choosing a CPA

It’s important to consider a CPA’s experience, services, and reputation when choosing a CPA. You should also compare their training and fees to make the best decision for your situation.

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