Whether it’s an attempt to save money or time, a growing number of small business owners are taking it upon themselves to tackle their financial/tax tasks themselves, as opposed to handing over these important fiscal responsibilities to a trained accountant, CPA, or tax attorney. With the proliferation of ever-more-powerful software to aid in these efforts, many small businesses are feeling more empowered to take these things on themselves.
But after a few years of DIY taxes and finances, a huge percentage of those small business owners are finding that they either don’t have time to manage these parts of their business, or fear they might be losing money inadvertently, or worse yet, have gotten a painful visit from the IRS. And so, many are returning to the more traditional route of at least consulting with a CPA or tax attorney, if not handing off the project to them entirely. If that’s what you’re looking to do for your small business, we’ve got your quick guide for picking the right person to help you.
- They’re good at communicating
Obviously, you want a CPA who knows their stuff – and some of that “stuff” might include a significant amount of jargon. The mark of a really great-to-work-with CPA is an ability to translate esoteric ideas and terms into something that you can truly understand and work with. You want someone who will go beyond doing a job for you – you want to be able to use them as a resource, to expand your knowledge of how to run your business. Being able to translate money speak into plain English is a big part of that.
- They answer questions
A thoroughly prepared and knowledgeable CPA or tax attorney isn’t just able to answer questions about what he or she does, but is able to discuss your business. Having a basic comprehension of small business practices and principles, and at least a willingness to learn about your particular company, is crucial. The right CPA goes beyond just handling your case by the numbers; he or she will be able to answer questions and thoughtfully counsel you on mindful financial planning across all areas of your business.
Numbers people tend to be perfectionists, and anyone being interviewed by a potential client can tend to oversell themselves, so it’s entirely possible that you will find yourself meeting with a CPA who professes to have no shortcomings. Clearly, that’s never true. Look for someone who openly discusses what they’re good at and what their flaws are – and hopefully how the rest of their team compliments and compensates for them.