Would it surprise you to learn that many small business owners trust their CPAs as much as their family members? It’s true. According to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs, CPAs are considered business’ most trusted advisors, and with good reason. CPAs, in order to keep their qualified status, are continually educated, tested and regulated by the State Boards of Accountancy. It is a profession that requires commitment, integrity, intelligence, and a strong sense of ethics.
To maintain the highest possible professional standards, CPA candidates are required to complete rigorous coursework at an accredited college or university and also pass the Uniform CPA Exam. This exam tests auditing, taxation, business and general accounting skills and was developed as a way of ensuring the utmost competence of CPAs entering the field. It is often considered the accounting equivalent of the bar exam for lawyers and the medical boards for doctors. Once the CPA license is received, CPAs are required to undergo many hours of continuing professional education every one to three years, the exact number of hours is regulated by the state in which the CPA is practicing, but usually fall around 40 hours annually.
Hiring a CPA can save you a lot of time and money. By turning to an expert, you do not have to worry about wasting time understanding complicated legal issues, or trying to analyze finances with limited experience. You and/or your business can become more financially organized and legally sound with the help of a CPA. At the same time, you can learn more about financial matters from your CPA and consequently gain knowledge and confidence in handling your business’ future financial issues and making critical financial decisions.
At tax time, you can’t afford even the smallest mistake on your returns. Instead of spending time and energy trying to navigating the seemingly endless stream of tax forms, consider hiring a CPA. They are specifically trained to complete multiple and complex state and federal tax returns, and know how to get the maximum number of tax deductions for you. They can also effectively organize your receipts and other documentation necessary for these returns.
Consider the following helpful CPA hiring tips before signing on the dotted line;
- Get recommendations from a wide variety of trusted contacts to help you find the best fit for you.
- Know your plans and objectives before meeting with your CPA. Collect enough information and necessary details so you can ask specific questions about your finances. Past tax returns, investment documents, business plans, and financial statements will make the process much smoother for you and your prospective CPA.
- Make sure the CPA is licensed to practice in your state. Also, inquire about which professional organizations the CPA belongs to. CPAs are required to meet strict professional and technical standards.
Tax preparation, financial planning, auditing or advice on developing a working accounting system, can all be made easier with the help of a CPA. CPAs can help you set a course for your business or advise you on your investments, estate planning, and more. Finally, once you’ve hired your CPA, make sure to keep him or her current on what’s happening in your life and business. Marriage, divorce, children, inheritances, and other life situations all can impact your financial situation and tax liability.