How to Select the Right Accountant for Your Business

When is the right time to hire an accountant? “As early as possible,” says Nikali Luke, president and co-owner of Simplified Tax & Accounting Service, PC in Lansing, Mich. “Especially when you are ready to start your business.”

“We are more helpful on the front end than when you wait until you are in trouble,” said Luke. “An accountant can give you guidance on the pros and cons of choosing an entity for your business, what items to keep track of, what’s deductible and what records you should keep in case of an audit.”

According to Luke, accountants help existing businesses know about the tax changes and how they will affect them, and what deductibles they should take. “Even if you see an accountant one time, it’s helpful to know you’re doing things right.”

“Most clients, once they sit with our CPAs, they realize it is worth it. When a business grows, you will get into situations. It’s good to have that advisor to turn to for help,” said Luke.

Here are a few tips to help choose the right accountant:

  1. Talk to people who you already trust, especially those in a similar situation, to get a referral.
  2. Call at least three accountants. Calling gives you a sense of whether you are going to enjoy talking to your CPA.
  3. Find out the fees. Depending on the CPA, fees vary dramatically. Ask two questions: “How much is my tax return?” and “How much is the consulting?” The real value you get is from the consulting.
  4. Find out if the accountant has experience in your specific industry. There are different tax rules based on your industry so you want that person to be able to give you good advice.
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